Brother of Afghan national security advisor shot dead

HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) - Gunmen on Wednesday assassinated a brother of Afghanistan's national security advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta outside a public bath house in the family's relatively peaceful home province, police said.

Mr Wali Jaan was a public prosecutor in the small town of Karukh in Herat province, which borders Iran in western Afghanistan.

"Today at around 8.30 am, Wali Jaan, the brother of Dr Spanta was gunned down. He was attacked by two persons on a motorbike as he came out of a (public) bath," Herat police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told AFP. "The attackers fled the area," he added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Herat police chief Rahmatullah Safi confirmed the killing but gave no further details.

Dr Spanta is one of the most influential people in the Western-backed Afghan government. He served as foreign minister before becoming national security advisor to President Hamid Karzai.

Taleban insurgents have carried out attacks in Herat since the 2001 US-led invasion brought down their regime in Kabul, but most of their activity is concentrated elsewhere.

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