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Afghan woman MP shot, deputy minister kidnapped in Kabul

Source: Reuters - Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:35 GMT
Author: Reuters
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An election official pauses under a list of candidates taped to the wall of a polling station in Kabul April 5, 2014. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
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KABUL, April 16 (Reuters) - A woman Afghan member of parliament was shot and wounded shortly after several gunmen kidnapped a deputy minister in separate incidents in the capital Kabul, officials said on Wednesday.

The two attacks, along with a spate of deadly violence in the capital in recent weeks, have raised questions about the ability of Afghan forces to maintain security as international troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year.

Mariam Koofi was shot in one of Kabul's upscale districts late on Tuesday after an argument with a member of the security forces, the interior ministry said in a statement. Her injury was not life threatening.

A man was arrested and an investigation was under way.

Earlier on the same day, gunmen kidnapped Ahmad Shah Wahid, the deputy minister of public works, as he was travelling in his car to work, officials said.

No group has taken responsibility for Wahid's kidnapping, but abduction is a lucrative business in impoverished Afghanistan and scores of Afghans and foreigners have been captured and money demanded in return for their release.

The kidnap of such a high profile politician, however, is rare.

The attacks come just over a week after Afghans went to the polls to elect a new president. Early results show no outright winner, meaning a likely run-off between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-world bank official Ashraf Ghani.

Final results are due on May 14, with a run-off at the earliest in late May.

President Hamid Karzai, who has been in power since the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001, was not eligible to run for a third term.

Afghanistan's allies praised the April 5 vote as a success because of a high turnout estimated at 60 percent of 12 million eligible voters and the failure of the Taliban to stage high-profile attacks.

However, the Independent Election Complaints Commission has received thousands of complaints and as a result the election timetable may be put back. (Reporting by Hamid Shalizi and Jeremy Laurence; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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