[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Bombs kill Afghan official and British troops

Peace envoy facilitating Taliban talks and three UK soldiers killed in wave of violence in Helmand.

Last Modified: 01 May 2013 14:18
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Fear is mounting that turmoil will prevail after the pullout of most NATO combat troops by the end of 2014 [EPA]

An Afghan official has said fighters used a bomb and small arms to kill a representative of a government peace council entrusted with helping start talks with the Taliban.

Omaer Zawak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand, said the attack that killed Malim Shah Wali Khan on Wednesday also wounded the province's deputy governor.

A bodyguard also died and four others were wounded.

He said the armed group first detonated a bomb next to Khan's car and then attacked with assault rifles.

A day earlier, at least 12 people, including three British soldier, were killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand.

Six British soldiers have now been killed this year in Afghanistan, where British casualties have slowed over the past year.

Our complete Afghanistan coverage

In a statement, Major Richard Morgan, UK Ministry of Defence spokesman, said: "Security in Helmand, where most UK forces are based, is steadily improving, with Afghan forces already responsible for the bulk of the province - but the environment in which our troops operate remains risky and dangerous, including the threat of improvised explosive devices and insurgent attacks.

"We will continue to do all we can to minimise these risks but they can never be removed entirely."

Helmand, which is the largest producer of opium in Afghanistan, has been the scene of the some of the fiercest fighting between NATO-led foreign forces and their Afghan government allies and the Taliban.

Fear is mounting that Afghanistan could be engulfed in turmoil after the pullout of most NATO combat troops by the end of 2014.

A presidential election is also due that year.

NATO and its partners are training Afghanistan's 350,000-strong security forces, though questions remain over how well the Afghans will be able to tackle the insurgency.

Last week, the Taliban vowed to start a new campaign of suicide attacks on foreign military bases, diplomatic areas as part of their spring offensive against the US-backed government.

320

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.