BAGHDAD (AFP) - An Iraqi army colonel was shot dead in Baghdad late on Saturday by gunmen armed with silenced pistols, an interior ministry official said. "Col Taher Ibrahim Ahmed, who worked at the ministry of defence, was shot dead as he was in his car on Palestine Street" in the east of the capital, the official said. Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Al-Qaeda has said it was behind many similar attacks targeting senior military officers and officials. Meanwhile, PM Nuri al-Maliki told visiting US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Saturday that Baghdad wants American companies to work on reconstruction projects in Iraq, the premier's office said. "Iraq is planning to improve roads, seaports and airports, and make use of the experience by American companies in these fields," his office said in a statement. LaHood arrived in Baghdad earlier the same day for talks including plans to rehabilitate Iraqi ports and boost maritime trade, an embassy spokesman said.