KABUL (Reuters) - The deputy governor of Kandahar province in south Afghanistan has been shot dead at a university in the provincial capital, a spokesman for the governor said on Monday.
Sunday’s shooting was the latest in a string of deadly attacks this year on officials and powerbrokers in Kandahar, once a base for the Islamist Taliban’s leader, Mullah Omar, and where the insurgency has its roots.
Abdul Qadim Patyal, a celebrated writer, was studying Pashto literature and in his final year at Kandahar University when his attacker fired at him through a window, the spokesman said.
“Patyal was transferred to hospital by his bodyguards ... and passed away there,” the spokesman said.
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law from 1996 to 2001, have increased pressure on the government this year as foreign forces withdraw from the country, stepping up attacks on officials and security forces.
Most coalition troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 when the combat mission officially ends, although a small contingent of about 1,800 Americans will remain involved in counter-terrorism.
In March, the governor’s chief of staff was killed in a bombing claimed by the Taliban, while in July, a powerful ally of the president was assassinated at his heavily fortified home in Kandahar.
Reporting by Jessica Donati