By Farid Behbud
KABUL, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Despite a decline in the Taliban-led attacks due to the cold weather in an imminent winter in the war- hit Afghanistan over the past couple of weeks, the insurgents is mounting a new wave of violent attacks in the country recently.
A senior official with the women's affairs department was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in the country's eastern province of Laghman Monday morning.
"The Acting Director of Provincial Women's Affairs Najia Siddiqi was killed in a drive- by shooting in Sharmaki area in provincial capital Mehtarlam city at about 8:30 a.m. local time today," a spokesman for the Laghman provincial governor, Sarhadi Zhawak, told Xinhua.
Siddiqi died of her wounds on the way to the hospital. The attackers made their good escape shortly after the shooting, he said, adding the police have launched an investigation into the incident in the province some 90 km east of capital Kabul.
He added that Siddiqi was appointed to the post after the former director of the women department Hanifah Safai was killed in a bombing earlier this year.
Earlier Monday morning, the provincial police chief of the country's Nimroz province, some 790 km southwest of capital Kabul, was killed in a roadside bombing.
"The police chief of Nimroz province General Mohammad Musa Rasouli died following a bomb attack on his vehicle in Adraskan district of western Herat province Monday morning," regional police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told Xinhua.
Rasouli was traveling in his official vehicle, after attending a security meeting in Herat, to Nimroz provincial capital Zaranj, the spokesman said.
"The police chief was shifted to a nearby hospital but died of his wounds an hour after the roadside bombing attack," Ahmadi said, adding that one policeman was also wounded in the attack that took place at around 7 a.m. local time.
The Afghan Interior Minister Ghulam Mujtaba Patang issued a statement and strongly condemned the bombing for which he blamed the Taliban.
Afghan officials and pro-government figures have been repeatedly targeted by the militants over the past years. More than 50 senior Afghan officials, local elders and pro-government figures have been killed in targeted killings in the insurgency- hit country over the past year. Taliban suspects routinely claim responsibility for such incidents.
The Taliban insurgent group, which launched an annual rebel offensive on May 3 this year, has said that anyone working for the government and the NATO-led troops are legitimate targets of the militants.
Taliban has also warned the civilians to stay away from official gatherings, military convoys and centers regarded as the legitimate targets by militants. They also warned people against supporting government and foreign troops.
In addition, a U.S. soldier with the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan ( USFOR-A) was killed on Sunday in eastern Afghanistan.
"A U.S. Forces-Afghanistan service member died in eastern Afghanistan today," the USFOR-A forces confirmed in a statement issued late Sunday, without providing more details.
However, the local media reported that a U.S. special force member was killed in a mission that rescued an abducted American citizen in a raid that also left seven Taliban militants dead.
Meantime, the U.S. forces confirmed that they rescued an American citizen, who was a doctor named Dilip Joseph, during an operation in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday.
Joseph was abducted by the Taliban on Wednesday Dec. 5 in the vicinity of Sarobi district, lying some 50 km east of Kabul, the statement issued here Sunday said.
General John Allen, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement that he ordered the mission when intelligence showed that Joseph was in imminent danger of injury or death, adding that "Joseph is now undergoing evaluations."
The Taliban claimed responsibility for a failed suicide bombing against the country's intelligence service chief Assadullah Khalid on Thursday.
Khalid is recovering from injuries that he sustained when a bomber detonated hidden explosives inside his body in an agency's compound in Kabul.
The recent attacks are being seen as a setback to fragile reconciliation efforts with insurgents and the seeking for a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.
Separately, five armed militants were killed and five were wounded in a clash in Nangarhar province, 120 km east of Kabul, on Sunday afternoon.
"The clash took place when a group of special-counter narcotics police forces launched a poppy opium eradication campaign in Khogyani district Sunday afternoon," spokesman for the governor, Ahmad Zia Abdul Zai, told Xinhua on Monday.
He said additional forces arrived in the area shortly after the fighting.
"Seven more armed militants were captured by the police. The security forces also found and seized weapons and explosives placed in two small shops around the area,"
Up to 102 Afghan security personnel had lost their lives in eradicating poppy fields so far this year, Afghan officials said.
Afghanistan remains the main producer of opium as about 90 percent of the world's opium, the raw material used in manufacturing heroin, is produced in this country, according to reports.
More than 3700 tons of opium was produced in Afghanistan last year, officials said.