South Asia

Afghanistan: Senior aide to President Karzai killed

Jan Mohammad Khan (file image)
Image caption Jan Mohammad Khan was said to be a trusted adviser of President Karzai

A senior aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Jan Mohammad Khan, has been killed in an attack on his home in Kabul.

Lawmaker Hasham Atanwal also died in the attack, said police, as men stormed the house in the capital.

The incident comes less than a week after Mr Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was assassinated.

Earlier Nato forces began handing the province of Bamiyan to Afghan security forces, the first move of its kind.

Some time after the attack on Mr Khan, the chief of police said security forces and the attackers were still exchanging fire around his house in the western Karti Char district of the city.

Interior ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqi said at least two gunmen had been involved in the attack, which began at about 8pm local time (1530 GMT).

"They were not suicide bombers, they were carrying weapons. One of them is dead, one other is still resisting," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

He said one man carrying an AK47 and a grenade launcher had been captured.

Kabul police chief Gen Ayub Salangi told the BBC one attacker was still alive and fighting from a bathroom in the house.

"We are trying to take over the house and clear it from these terrorists," he said.

Defence Ministry official Gen Zahir Wardak said the attackers had been wearing suicide vests, the Associated Press reports.

Security concerns

The BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says Mr Khan - a former governor of Uruzgan province - was a close ally of the president, but he was also a controversial figure.

Earlier on Sunday, Nato began handing over control of Bamiyan province, west of Kabul, to police in Afghanistan.

It is the first of seven areas to be passed to local forces under a plan announced by President Karzai in March.

The handover is seen as a critical step in a transition of power before foreign troops end combat operations in 2014.

Correspondents say that despite rising casualty numbers, security has improved in a number of areas of the country following a surge of extra American troops and tens of thousands of new Afghan police and soldiers.

However the quality of Afghan police and soldiers is patchy and correspondents warn of fears that they will be unable to withstand a renewed summer offensive from the Taliban.