Afghan health team abducted; local official killed

Gunmen kidnapped five Health Ministry employees in Afghanistan's volatile Kandahar province while insurgents killed a district official elsewhere, reportedly on the orders of the Taliban supreme leader, officials said. Also in the south, two U.S. service members were killed in a roadside bombing, NATO said. No more details were released.

Insurgent bombings, gunbattles, assassinations and abductions have been increasing this year as thousands of American troops partnered with Afghan forces fan out in the militants' southern strongholds to try to wrest back control and establish effective local government.
Members of a medical team were abducted while returning to Kandahar city, the provincial capital, after visiting a project in Maiwand district, provincial spokesman Zulmi Ayubi. The gunmen forced the car to stop about a mile (two kilometers) outside Maiwand and abducted two doctors, a pharmacist, a nurse and their driver, Ayubi said. The Health Ministry issued a statement calling for their release.