Suspected Taleban fighters have killed seven bodyguards of a provincial governor in the south of Afghanistan in the latest in a series of attacks.
The governor of Helmand was not travelling with the guards as they came under attack on Saturday night.
Officials in Helmand said at least 10 fighters in two cars ambushed a military vehicle carrying the governor's guards.
Five died instantly, the other two several hours later. All were shot.
A spokesman for Governor Sher Mohammad Akhund Zada said the attack was the work of the Taleban.
This year has seen the Taleban regrouping in significant numbers in eastern and southern Afghanistan.
They have been staging strikes against American-led coalition forces, Afghan government forces and aid workers, both foreign and Afghan.
All are described as stooges of the United States by Taleban commanders who see them as legitimate targets in the so-called holy war which they have declared.
The commanders are believed to be organising the violence from remote hideouts in the south and south-east.
Some Afghan leaders say commanders are also based in Pakistan.
Life has become particularly perilous for Afghans working for foreign aid organisations.
Afghan army soldiers have been involved in a Teleban crackdown
Last week, two men working for the voluntary association for the rehabilitation of Afghanistan were killed after suspected Taleban fighters shot at their car.
A UN spokesman described the killings as a war crime.
The attack, coupled to the many others recently, has led to renewed calls for more foreign peacekeepers to be deployed outside the capital.
Nato, which commands the 5,000-strong peacekeeping force in Kabul is currently considering whether to increase the strength and spread of its operations.