Suspected Taliban (search) gunmen shot and killed a candidate in Afghanistan's legislative elections after dragging him from his house.

His death brought to six the number of candidates killed ahead of Sunday's ballot, which many Afghans hope will marginalize insurgents. Four election workers have also been slain.

Abdul Hadi (search) was pulled from his home in southern Helmand province Thursday night before being shot, Mohammed Wali, a spokesman for the local governor, told an Associated Press reporter in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta (search) by telephone. The militants then fled in two vehicles.

Security forces were searching for the assailants, but no one has been arrested, Wali said.

Afghan security forces, as well as the U.S.-led coalition and a separate NATO (search)-led peacekeeping force, have gone on alert ahead of the polls. Fighting with Taliban rebels has left more than 1,200 dead in the past six months and raised fears that they may attack polling stations.