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Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 12:13 UK

Gun attack on Afghan campaigner

Abdullah Abdullah
Abdullah Abdullah was not in the vehicle at the time of the attack

A campaign manager of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has been badly hurt after his vehicle was attacked, officials say.

Officials say his car was shot at in Laghman province. His driver was killed in the assault.

The attack follows an assassination attempt on President Karzai's running mate on Sunday. No group has claimed responsibility for either incident.

Meanwhile, a blast in Helmand province killed eight Afghan security guards.

Afghanistan has seen a rise in violence ahead of presidential and provincial council elections next month.

The deputy governor of Laghman province told the BBC that efforts were being made to take the campaign manager, Ismail, to safety in a vehicle.

He is reportedly being taken to the eastern town of Jalalabad for treatment.

Abdullah Abdullah was not in the vehicle at the time of the attack. He is Afghanistan's former foreign minister and one of the most prominent presidential candidates in this year's campaign.

The attack follows an assassination attempt on on a running mate of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday .

Mohammed Qasim Fahim's convoy was fired at with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns in northern Kunduz province, its governor said.

Taliban 'jihad'

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Separately, eight security guards were killed as two vehicles were hit by a remotely detonated bomb while on their way to the town of Gereshk in the southern province of Helmand.

Four other guards were injured in the incident.

The dead men, all Afghan, were working for a company which frequently provides security for delivery convoys for international forces in the area.

The BBC's David Lyon in Kabul says the attack shows the ability of the Taliban to continue to disrupt the work of foreign forces even at a time when there are more American and British troops on the ground than at any time before.

There is grave concern about the level of violence across Afghanistan as key elections approach.

On Monday the Afghan government said it had agreed a truce with Taliban insurgents in the north-western province of Badghis.

But Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said no such agreement has been made.

"We will continue our jihad and will not accept the request of the government for negotiations and a ceasefire," he is quoted by the AP news agency as saying.

But the election campaign has continued unabated across the country - and continues to court controversy.

At a meeting in Helmand, shoes were thrown at presidential candidate, and former defence minister, Shanawaz Tanai.

A man in the audience threw shoes after Mr Tanai after the candidate criticised President Karzai for "not cracking down" on corruption and the drug trade in Afghanistan.

US and UK troops have launched a major offensive against Taliban militants in Helmand province.



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Time Several Afghan Polling Centers in Danger - 30 hrs ago
Reuters Afghan poll official ambushed, UN sees challenges - 31 hrs ago
France24 AFGHANISTAN: Nine killed in attacks on election officials, security forces - 40 hrs ago
AFP via Yahoo! Nine killed as UN urges Taliban not to scupper Afghan vote - 41 hrs ago
Citizen.co.za Kabul hails local truce with Taliban ahead of vote - 65 hrs ago



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