KUNDUZ - Taliban assassins riding motorbikes gunned down a senior election official in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, raising fears the presidential vote due in April will trigger a surge in violence. Amanullah Aman, the head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in Kunduz province, was killed by two gunmen outside his home in Kunduz city as he left for work. His murder, the first of an election official in recent years, came days after candidate nominations opened Monday.

All potential runners in the race to succeed President Hamid Karzai must declare themselves by October 6.