KANDAHAR (AFP) Taliban gunmen riding motorbikes assassinated an Afghan counter-terror officer Saturday in Kandahar, police said.
The officer was sitting in a shop when the attackers opened fire, killing him and wounding a shopkeeper before making a quick getaway, deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Shah Farooqi told AFP.
The Taliban carried out the attack, militia spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP by telephone from an unknown location.
Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban movement and one of the provinces worst affected by their insurgency against the new Western-backed administration and the 113,000 US and NATO troops based in the country.
Elsewhere in the south, US-led forces intercepted drug smugglers travelling towards Helmand, the heartland of Afghanistans opium production on the border with Pakistan, and seized two tons of opium, a local official said.
They were arrested driving two Land Cruisers overnight, said Ghulam Dastagir Azad, governor of western Nimroz province from where the suspects set off.
In Kabul, customs agents at the international airport seized 16 kilograms of heroin destined to be smuggled out of the country, said the Afghan finance ministry.
It said smugglers were arrested but gave no further details.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 13-Dec-2009 here.