Afghan Taliban kills head of govt media department, says official 'punished for his deeds'

The Taliban assassinated the director of Afghanistan government's Information Media Center on Friday, the latest killing in a series of ...

The Taliban assassinated the director of Afghanistan government's Information Media Center on Friday, the latest killing in a series of attacks on journalists and rights activists in recent months.

This comes days after the Taliban warned they would target senior administration officials in retaliation for increased air strikes.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Associated Press that the groups' fighters had killed Dawa Khan Menapal, who ran the government's press operations for the local and foreign media.

In a statement Mujahid put out later, he said Menapal "was killed in a special attack of Mujahideen" and was "punished to his deeds".

Mujahid did not give any more details.

The interior ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanikzai Friday said: "Unfortunately, the savage terrorists have committed a cowardly act once again and martyred a patriotic Afghan."

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Several recent attacks against civilians have been claimed by the Islamic State, although the government most often holds the Taliban responsible.

Fighting in Afghanistan's long-running conflict has intensified since May, when foreign forces began the final stage of a withdrawal due to be completed later this month.

The Taliban already control large portions of the countryside, and are now challenging Afghan government forces in several large cities.

The militants warned Wednesday of more attacks targeting Afghan government leaders, a day after the defence minister escaped an assassination attempt.

The bomb-and-gun attack on Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi Tuesday night brought the war to the capital for the first time in months.

The Afghan and US militaries have stepped up air strikes in their fight against the insurgents in a string of cities, and the Taliban said Wednesday the Kabul raid was their response.

With inputs from agencies

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India World News: Afghan Taliban kills head of govt media department, says official 'punished for his deeds'
Afghan Taliban kills head of govt media department, says official 'punished for his deeds'
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