Pro-peace Muslim cleric assassinated in Afghanistan

Cleric Rahman Gul, his brother and a relative were gunned down in an ambush yesterday while returning to their homes in the Chapa Dara district of Kunar province, Interior Ministry and provincial police chief Gen Khalilullah Zaiyie said.

In recent days, Gul, the chief of the district clerical council, had stressed the importance of "peace and stability" across Afghanistan. No one claimed responsibility, but the Taliban insurgents are known to target those who oppose their extreme, militant interpretation of Islam.

The shooting capped a weekend of roadside bombings, assassination, militant attacks and suicide blasts across the country as part of an expected springtime spike in insurgent violence in the war-battered country.

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