Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Two Afghani election workers killed in ambush


Gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying election workers into a Taliban stronghold, killing two of them, a senior official said yesterday. One of the attackers was captured.

If confirmed, the casualties would bring to at least 12 the number of people killed while helping prepare for Afghanistan's first direct vote for president on Oct. 9. Taliban militants have vowed to disrupt the election.

Dozens of militants opened fire on the four jeeps on Friday as they passed through Char Cheno, a district of central Uruzgan province, Governor Jan Moham-med Khan told reporters.

Hassan Khan and Khathari Jan, two members of a team registering voters for the joint Afghan-UN electoral commission, were killed in a hail of assault-rifle and machine-gun fire, Khan said.

Guards in the convoy shot back, forcing the assailants to retreat into the mountains, he said.

One Taliban fighter was captured, Khan said, but gave no further details.

Uruzgan and neighboring Zabul have been the scene of some of the worst fighting in recent months, and attacks have increased as the nation gears up for its first post-Taliban election.

Six US soldiers were wounded in Zabul on Friday when insurgents mounted attacks with a mortar and explosives, the US military said.

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