Kabul: Taliban insurgents broke into the home of a provincial official in southern Afghanistan and killed him and his wife, the latest targeted attack on those with links to the government or international forces, authorities said Wednesday.
Atta Jan Kajrwal, the Zabul province director of border and tribal affairs, was killed along with his wife in Tuesday night`s attack in Shahjoy district, said Mohammad Jan Rasoolyar, a spokesman for the governor. Another person in the house was injured, he said.
Violence is on the rise, especially in the south, as Afghan and international forces push into areas controlled by the Taliban. It`s part of a strategy to rout insurgents from their southern strongholds and provide security for the population to allow Afghan officials to bolster governance.
In the east, hundreds of demonstrators blocked a main highway between Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday to protest two deaths in a night raid. The protesters said the two men killed were innocent civilians, while NATO said its forces killed two insurgents.
Ghafor Khan, chief of the district of Surkh Rod, said a father and his son were killed and three others were wounded in the Tuesday night operation. He said police were trying to control the crowd to keep the demonstration peaceful.
NATO said Afghan and coalition troops killed two insurgents and detained several others while pursuing a bomb-making expert who was making sophisticated explosives for the Taliban. The coalition said the joint force took enemy fire before fatally shooting two men.
In a separate incident, NATO said a civilian irrigating a field in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province was killed Tuesday during a fire fight.
The coalition said the civilian was shot and killed when a joint force being attacked by insurgents returned fire. Coalition forces plan to meet with local elders about the shooting, which remains under investigation.
Also in Kandahar, NATO said a joint force killed 10 insurgents Tuesday while pursuing a Taliban commander responsible for arranging weapons deliveries. Six insurgents who ran from a compound in Panjwai district were killed in an air strike and four others were killed by ground forces.
The joint force found and destroyed a weapons cache inside the compound, including bomb-making equipment, grenades and mortar, artillery and anti-aircraft machine gun rounds.
NATO also reported Wednesday that a senior Taliban commander was among several insurgents detained Monday in Naway-e-Barakzayi district of Helmand province. The commander, who was not named, directed military operations and handled governance issues in Taliban-controlled areas of the district, the coalition said.