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Gunmen kill judge, three others in Kabul

Gunmen ambushed a car in a remote Afghan province killing a judge, a provincial official and two guards

india Updated: May 24, 2006 12:43 IST

Gunmen ambushed a car in a remote Afghan province killing a judge, a provincial official and two guards, the latest victims in a wave of the worst violence to hit the country in years.

More than 250 people have been killed in a series of battles, ambushes and bombings since last Wednesday, according to the US military and Afghan officials.

That is more than the number reported killed in Iraq during the same period.

It is the worst spell of violence since US, and Afghan opposition forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001 after they refuse to hand over Osama bin Laden.

Most of the dead were militants but dozens of Afghan police, soldiers and civilians have also been killed, along with four foreign soldiers.

The judge, the provincial official and the two guards were killed in the central province of Ghor when gunmen opened fire on their car yesterday, said the province's deputy governor, Ikramuddin Rezaye.

"The four were travelling in a car when they were ambushed," Rezaye told Reuters. "We don't know who did it. We're investigating."

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousuf, said by telephone the Taliban carried out the attack.

The guerrillas, fighting to oust foreign forces and defeat the government, mostly operate in the south and east and have not been known to operate in the mountains of Ghor.

But there have been several attacks in recent months outside the south and east, suggesting the Taliban are expanding their area of operations.

The rising tide of violence has disrupted aid and reconstruction work across ever larger parts of the country.

In the south and east, aid agencies and government workers are increasingly confined to the safety of provincial capitals while bands of Taliban roam the countryside, attacking remote police posts and setting ambushes on roads.