KABUL, Afghanistan – Suspected Taliban rebels shot and killed an influential former governor and four others Saturday in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan, police said.
Militants with AK-47 assault rifles attacked a car carrying ex-governor Taj Mohammed Qari Baba near his home in Ghazni city, said Ali Ahmad, the chief of the provincial police criminal investigation department. Two of his relatives, a bodyguard and driver were also killed.
Baba, believed to have been in his 60s, was a vocal supporter of Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government and a critic of the Taliban. He served as Ghazni's governor between 1992 and 1995 and in 2002, months after the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban. Prior to that, he was a commander in the mujahedeen fighting Soviet occupying forces in the 1980s.
Two suspected insurgents were arrested near the site of the shooting and were being questioned, Ahmad said.
Baba was the latest prominent Afghan targeted by the Taliban for speaking out against them and comes amid a major resurgence in insurgent violence.
A week ago, a homicide car bomb injured the head of the upper house of the Afghan Parliament as he was traveling in the capital, Kabul. Four others were killed.
Several pro-government clerics have also been killed, many of them just days after condemning the rebel movement.
A statement attributed to Taliban leader Mullah Omar warned Thursday of a wave of rebels attacks in coming months as snows melt on the high mountain passes the guerillas use.