Updated: 02/02/2014 01:26 | By Agence France-Presse

Afghan presidential candidate's aides assassinated

Gunmen shot dead two aides of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on Saturday night, the eve of the official election campaign, officials said.

Afghan presidential candidate's aides assassinated

Afghanistan politician and candidate for the upcoming presidential election, Abdullah Abdullah addresses a press conference in Kabul on January 26, 2014 - by Johannes Eisele

"I can confirm that armed men killed Dr. Hamdard who was to lead our election campaign team in Herat, along with another team member in Herat city this evening," Sayed Fazel Sangcharaki, a spokesman for the candidate said.

Abdul Rauf Ahmadi, a police spokesman in the western city of Herat confirmed the incident.

"Unfortunately two people, namely Ahmad Hamdard and Shujahideen were killed in the fourth district of Herat city this evening. Unidentified gunmen opened fire on them in the middle of street," he said.

The police spokesman only gave one name for the second victim.

Sangcharaki said Hamdard had worked with Abdullah during the last presidential campaign in 2009, and lamented the lack of security given to his campaign by the government.

"This incident at the beginning of election campaign is a bad sign as either the security forces are incapable of providing security for the election campaign or they do not take their job seriously," he said.

Afghanistan's election campaign kicks off on Sunday, with 11 candidates vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai as the country enters an uncertain new era without the aid of NATO combat troops to fight the Taliban.

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