Gunman kills Afghan provincial election official

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A gunman killed the head of the election commission in a northern Afghan province on Wednesday, a local official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The shooting came just days after the start of the campaign season ahead of presidential and provincial elections next spring.

Amanullah Aman was collecting rents from shop owners in a Kunduz city bazaar where he owns property when a gunman riding by on a motorbike shot him three times in the chest.

Hamidullah Daneshi, the deputy governor of Kunduz province, said Aman died later in a hospital.

Kunduz province is in northern Afghanistan, a region that has seen growing insurgent activity.

In a phone call, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the militant group carried out the attack. The Taliban frequently target Afghan government officials in their bid to return to power 12 years after they were ousted by U.S.-led troops.

The Afghan election season started this week with authorities accepting nominations for the presidency and provincial council seats. The April 5 vote is considered a key test for Afghanistan as the NATO-led international coalition finishes withdrawing its forces next year.

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