Kabul, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- A Taliban hit-squad assassinated a charismatic blind police chief, Shah Mohammad, known for taking the fight back to the rebel group and surviving dozens of attacks for nearly two decades in Afghanistan’s southern Uruzgan province.
Shah, 44, was killed on Monday night in Trinkot, capital of the restive province, by a group of armed assailants, Uruzgan governor’s spokesperson Zargai Ebadi told EFE.
“Unfortunately Shah Mohammad was assassinated Monday late evening by Taliban’s armed attackers in south of Trinkot city,” Ebadi said.
The spokesperson added that Mohammad died on the spot, while two of his bodyguards were wounded but were currently out of danger and undergoing treatment at the provincial hospital.
“Shah was one of the most important and well-known police commanders of Uruzgan and was serving as the district police chief of Dehrawpod district,” Ebadi said, describing his death as “a great loss” to the security forces.
The officer had survived 34 attempts on his life in his 17 years of service with the police.
He was injured on many occasions and ended up completely losing his eyesight after an explosion, but his “determination was never broken and he never gave up the fight against the Taliban,” according to the spokesperson.
The commander was a key figure regarding security in the conflict-ridden Uruzgan province because of his skills on the field and the efficient management of his troops.
Mohammad had developed a reputation of being a “merciless” fighter against the Taliban, and was also infamous for executing captured militants.
Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination in a statement, calling the officer a “ruthless” policeman.
“The ruthless police chief for the Dehrawood district, Shah Mohammad, was killed in an armed attack in Trinkot city, and his bodyguards were severely injured,” Taliban spokesperson Qari Yusuf Ahmadi tweeted.
Taliban supporters hailed the assassination on social media as an achievement.
Both the Afghan government and the Taliban have committed to maintaining defensive postures since a three-day truce in late May to celebrate the festival of Eid-al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The two sides have also been involved in a complicated prisoner swap – the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners by the government in exchange for 1,000 of its own troops being freed by the rebels – as a precursor to intra-Afghan peace negotiations, to be held in Qatar for seeking an end to 19 years of war in the country.
The government has released around 3,000 Taliban militants while the insurgents have freed 500 government prisoners in a slow process since March which has been interrupted several times.
The prisoner swap was agreed upon in the historic peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban in Doha on Feb.29, and includes the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan within 14 months. EFE-EPA