Afghan parliamentarian assassinated in southern province

Kandahar/Kabul - An Afghan parliamentarian and a renowned chieftain from the southern Kandahar province was assassinated overnight by unknown gunmen, an official said Saturday.

Confirming the assassination of Wolasi Jirga (Parliament) member Haji Habibullah, Kandahar and Provincial Council chief Ahmad Wali Karzai, brother of President Karzai, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa: "I only confirm that unknown armed men shot dead the parliament member in Zherai district but there is no further detail in this regard."

According to Ahmad Wali, an investigation is underway to find out who is behind the incident.

Meanwhile, Afghan Mal, a member of the Provincial Council, also confirmed the murder and told dpa that unidentified gunmen on a motorbike gunned down Haji Habibullah in the village of Sanzari in Zherai district Friday night.

The authorities had not so far commented on the incident.

"After the killing of Haji Habibullah, the killers escaped," Afghan Mal added. He said no-one has so far admitted responsibility for the attack.

Habibullah is the tenth parliament member to be killed. Six other parliamentarians were killed in a bomb explosion in the northern Baghlan province last year. (dpa)