Parliamentarian, militant commander killed in Afghanistan
An Afghan parliamentarian and renowned chieftain from the southern Kandahar province was assassinated overnight by unknown gunmen, while a militant commander believed to be involved in last year's kidnapping of two German engineers was killed in a coalition operation, officials said Saturday, reported dpa.
The militant commander by the name of Mullah Nizamuddin was killed in a US-led coalition forces operation, officials of the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Saturday.
Dr Abdul Hakim Ashir, chief of the Media and Public Relations Department in the interior ministry, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that "information available from Jaghatu district of Wardak province says that Mullah Nizamuddin was killed in a coalition forces operation late Friday night."
Initial information said that Nizamuddin was involved in the kidnapping of two German engineers in the same district last year, Ashir said, adding, "Coalition forces arrested five others in the area."
One of the engineers who were conducting a dam survey in the area was killed and the other freed along with five Afghans after three months in captivity.
Meanwhile, confirming the assassination of Wolasi Jirga (Parliament) member Haji Habibullah Sanzani, Kandahar Provincial Council chief Ahmad Wali Karzai, brother of President Karzai, told dpa: "I only confirm that unknown armed men shot dead the parliament member in Zherai district but there is no further detail in this regard."
According to Ahmad Wali, an investigation is underway to find out who is behind the incident.
Meanwhile, Afghan Mal, a member of the Provincial Council, also confirmed the murder and told dpa that unidentified gunmen on a motorbike gunned down Haji Habibullah in the village of Sanzari in Zherai district Friday night.
"After the killing of Haji Habibullah, the killers escaped," Afghan Mal added. He said no-one has so far admitted responsibility for the attack.
Habibullah is the tenth parliament member to be killed. Six other parliamentarians were killed in a bomb explosion in the northern Baghlan province last year.
Meanwhile, Taliban militants rejected any involvement in the assassination of the parliament member. Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, spokesman for the militant group, said the Taliban didn't target the lawmaker.
The Afghan Interior Ministry in a statement said the parliamentarian was shot dead by unknown gunmen around midnight while coming out from his home in the Sanzai area of Zherai district.
"Police sources said so far it is not clear what is the reason and who are involved behind this killing," said the statement.
The statement said such killings are usually carried out by "enemies of peace and stability."
In another development, over a dozen militants were killed following an attack by US-led coalition forces in eastern Nuristan province Friday afternoon.
A military statement released from Bagram military base said: "The helicopter crews coordinated with ground forces to positively identify the militants' vehicle and the helicopters destroyed the two vehicles, killing more than a dozen militants."
There were no official reports of civilian casualties in the incident, the statement said, adding however that "we are aware through media reports that there are allegations of civilian casualties. We are engaging with Afghan officials on this matter."