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Afghan independent election activist dies in latest Kabul ambush

Published: Updated:

A prominent Afghan activist who led an independent election monitoring organization died on Wednesday after being ambushed by gunmen in Kabul, an aide and police said, the latest targeted killing in the restive capital.

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Mohammad Yousuf Rasheed’s driver also died from wounds received in the ambush in a southern suburb of the capital as they drove to work.

Read more: ‘Good step’: Taliban welcome US troop drawdown from Afghanistan

Rasheed’s murder follows a similar pattern of recent weeks, where prominent Afghans have been ambushed during the often-chaotic morning traffic.

Rasheed was head of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) which, according to its website, has worked since 2004 to promote democracy, good governance, and human resource management.

FEFA staffer Abdul Wahab Qarizada told AFP that Rasheed and driver Samiullah died from gunshot wounds at a city hospital.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz confirmed the attack on Rasheed.

High-profile figures including journalists, politicians and rights activists have increasingly been targeted as violence surges in Afghanistan despite peace talks between the government and Taliban.

The top US envoy in Kabul condemned Rasheed’s murder, saying the activist had worked for years to promote “free and transparent elections” in Afghanistan.

“I am appalled by his murder, another in a cacophony of senseless and endless violence,” Ross Wilson said on Twitter.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) also condemned the latest bloodshed to rock Kabul.

“Targeted killings of civilians are taking place at a deeply disturbing rate in Afghanistan,” UNAMA tweeted.

“Such dreadful acts are rarely claimed and frequently focus on those working for an open society. The UN repeats its call for a sustained reduction in violence.”

The ambush comes a day after five people -- including two women doctors working for a prison on the outskirts of Kabul -- were killed by a bomb affixed to their vehicle.

It comes two days after a prominent Afghan journalist was shot dead in the eastern city of Ghazni.

Rahmatullah Nekzad was the fourth journalist to be killed in two months, and seventh media worker this year.