Kabul, Jan 12 (IANS) A provincial religious council member was shot dead following an armed attack in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province Monday, police said.
“Member of Helmand’s Religious Council Mawlawi Abdul Karim was martyred after two armed men opened fire at him at around 3:30 p.m. Monday,” provincial police spokesman Farid Ahmad Obaid told Xinhua.
Karim, a tribal elder, was walking near his house in Sahfyan locality of provincial capital Lashkar Gah when he came under attack. He was shifted to a hospital for medical treatment but succumbed to his injuries, the spokesman said.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban insurgent group routinely claim such attacks.
The Taliban has intensified attacks over the past couple of months as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) assumed full security charge from NATO-led troops after a four-year security transition earlier this month.
The civilians considered to be supporting the government, civilian government employees, religious leaders, tribal elders and persons involved in peace and reconciliation efforts have come under attack in targeted killings.
Earlier in the day, a ceremony was held in Gereshk district north of Lashkar Gah, to mark the end of security transition from NATO-led troops to the Afghan army and police.
Several tribal elders, religious figures, provincial and military officials attended the ceremony held in the army’s Corps 2015 Maywand in the province, 555 km south of Afghan capital Kabul.
On Jan 1 this year, the US and NATO-led troops switched from combat to support role — NATO-led Resolute Support mission — which will focus on training, advising and assisting Afghan forces. Nearly 13,000 foreign forces will be involved in the mission, according to NATO officials in the country.