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Paktia Provincial Councilor Shot Dead In Southeastern Afghanistan


Ayub Gharwal

Afghan officials say the deputy head of the provincial council in the southeastern province of Paktia has been assassinated by unknown gunmen.

The provincial media office said Ayub Gharwal was on his way to a university in the provincial capital of Gardez when he was attacked and killed by the gunmen on September 19.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although similar attacks in the past have been blamed on the Taliban.

There has been fierce fighting in recent days between Afghan government troops and Taliban militants in the neighboring province of Nangarhar.

In a separate incident, Afghan officials said a member of the security forces was killed and eight others were wounded in a suicide bombing in the Dedadi district of the northern province of Balkh on September 19.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed sympathy with Gharwal's family and said Taliban militants should accept the demand of Afghans for a cease-fire.

The Taliban has repeatedly rejected calls for a permanent truce.

Violence has spiked despite the launch of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the Gulf state of Qatar last week.

The warring sides are attempting to reach a political settlement to end the 19-year war.

Roland Kobia, the European Union’s special envoy to Afghanistan, said on September 18 that United Nations figures show violence in Afghanistan in the last five weeks has been the highest in the last five years.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan and dpa