MAZAR-I-SHARIF : Taliban gunmen abducted a provincial election candidate in northern Afghanistan, officials said on Monday, five days ahead of national polls the militants have vowed to target. Abdul Jabar Haqbeen, governor of Sari Pul province, told AFP that Hussain Nazari and six supporters were kidnapped on Sunday evening. "They were on their way from Sancharak district to the provincial capital of Sari Pul when they faced a Taliban ambush," he said.
The group, who did not have any security protection, were returning after campaigning when they were dragged from their taxi at gunpoint.
Afghan security forces said they had launched an operation to find the group.
A roadside bomb in Kunduz also killed five bodyguards protecting a local militia commander on Monday.
The latest violence comes after several high-profile attacks in Kabul in the run-up to polling day.
On Saturday, the Kabul headquarters of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) was attacked when five Taliban militants occupied a nearby building and unleashed rockets and gunfire at the fortified compound.
All five attackers were killed by Afghan security forces six hours after the attack began, and there were no other casualties.
Another IEC centre, Kabul's most prestigious hotel and a guesthouse run by a US anti-landmine charity have also been targeted in recent weeks.