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Three arrested for murder of Afghan election activist


Afghan forces have arrested three people in connection with last month’s murder of a prominent election activist, police said Saturday.

High-profile figures including journalists, politicians and rights activists have increasingly been targeted in recent months as violence surges in Afghanistan despite peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

“Three people have been arrested for the killing of Mohammad Yousuf Rasheed,” Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz told reporters.

He did not immediately specify when the three were arrested or if they belonged to any group.

On December 23, gunmen ambushed Rasheed, who led an independent election monitoring organisation, in a southern suburb of the capital as he drove to work.

He and his driver died from their wounds later at a city hospital.

Rasheed was head of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) which, according to its website, has worked since 2004 to promote democracy, good governance, and human resource management in the conflict-wracked country.

His murder followed a similar pattern of recent months, where prominent Afghans have been ambushed during the often-chaotic morning traffic, especially in Kabul.

His murder drew condemnation from Afghan and foreign officials.

Violence has surged across Afghanistan, particularly since peace talks commenced in September, with the Taliban carrying out near-daily attacks targeting Afghan forces.

The insurgents however deny carrying out targeted killings, some of which have been claimed by the jihadist Islamic State organisation.

Since November, five Afghan journalists have been assassinated along with some other activists and professionals.

These assassinations have sowed fear and chaos across the country, including in Kabul.

The killings come even as the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators are engaged in the second round of peace talks in the Qatari capital of Doha.

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