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Paktia Provincial Councilor Shot Dead In Southeastern Afghanistan

Ayub Gharwal (file photo).
Ayub Gharwal (file photo).

Afghan officials say the deputy head of the provincial council in the southeastern province of Paktia has been assassinated by unknown gunmen.

The provincial media office said Ayub Gharwal was on his way to a university in the provincial capital of Gardez when he was attacked and killed by the gunmen on September 19.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Taliban has long been active in the province.

There also has been fierce fighting in recent days between Afghan government troops and Taliban militants in the neighboring province of Nangarhar -- even while peace talks are under way in Qatar.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed sympathy with Gharwal's family and said Taliban militants should accept the quest of Afghans for a cease-fire.

The Taliban has repeatedly rejected calls for a cease-fire. But Taliban representatives are talking with an Afghan government negotiating team in Qatar in an attempt to find a political solution to the country's ongoing conflict.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan and dpa