GHAZNI, Afghanistan Mar 19 (Reuters): Taliban gunmen killed a powerful former governor of an Afghan province and four of his guards on Saturday, and hours later tried to kill the province's current governor.
The violence in Ghazni province, south of the capital, Kabul, came a day after nine policemen were killed in a blast as they were bringing back the bodies of four Macedonians kidnapped and killed by the Taliban and dumped in a valley.
Violence has increased in Afghanistan in recent months, especially in the south and east, as the Taliban and allied militants step up efforts to oust foreign forces and overthrow the Western-backed government.
Gunmen in a car shot Taj Mohammad, an outspoken opponent of the Taliban and a former governor of Ghazni province, near his home, said Habibullah Khan, administrative chief of the province's Andar district.
Four of Mohammad's bodyguards were also killed. Two suspected Taliban had been arrested, he said.