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Taliban Kill Afghan Official

Taliban insurgents gunned down a district administrator along with a bodyguard in eastern Afghanistan's militant-infested Ghazni province.

Local officials say Jaghatu District chief Mohammad Daud on his way to the provincial capital early Thursday when the militants ambushed his vehicle.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the deadly assault.

Ghazni lies on the key Kabul-Kandahar Highway and Taliban militants there have conducted frequent attacks against Afghan security forces in recent days.

Earlier this week, the Taliban killed 22 police officers and captured many others after overrunning Ghormach district in northwestern Faryab province.

Afghan officials have confirmed the district police chief, Abdul Majeed Gilimbafi, was among the hostages, but their fate remains unclear.

Meanwhile, Afghan authorities say troops have pushed the Taliban back from Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province and regained control of the territory near the city after heavy fighting. Clashes are continuing in the area.

The insurgents have long contested several districts in Helmand, one of Afghanistan’s key poppy growing provinces. The Islamist insurgency had briefly overrun the key northern city of Kunduz in late September.