Thousands protest in Afghanistan against senior killing

Thousands protested in Afghanistan on Monday against the killing of a prominent election candidate last week, and demanded the resignation of a powerful provincial governor they claim was behind the attack.

More than 2,000 people marched across the capital, Kabul, and at least 1,000 others demonstrated in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, where ethnic Hazara parliamentary candidate Ashraf Ramazan was killed in a drive-by shooting on Sept. 27.

Protesters in both cities demanded the resignation of Balkh province Gov. Atta Mohammed, accusing him of plotting the attack. They also wanted election authorities to let Ramazan's brother take his place as a prospective member of Afghanistan's new National Assembly.

Authorities reported no violence at the protests.

Ramazan was a political ally of Mohammed Mohaqeq, an ethnic Hazara leader who came in third in last October's presidential election and is leading the vote count for this year's legislative election in Kabul province.

Partial preliminary results showed Ramazan in fourth place in Balkh, where he was seeking one of the province's 11 seats in the legislature. Three of the seats are reserved for women.

Eight candidates have been killed since the run-up to the Sept. 18 poll, Afghanistan's first parliamentary vote in more than 30 years, the AP reports.

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