Female Afghan UN staff member shot dead by unknown gunmen in Kandahar province

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KABUL, Afghanistan — A female U.N. worker was shot and killed on Monday while traveling to work in the city of Kandahar, an Afghan official said.

Toorpakai Olfat, an Afghan national, was killed by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle after she left her home, said Samim Akhpolwak, spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan confirmed Olfat's death in a statement and said authorities were investigating.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he was "deeply troubled" by the killing of Olfat, who was a "much valued colleague, staunch human rights defender and friend to many in the United Nations and across Afghanistan."

The U.N. chief called for "a rigorous and prompt investigation" into the killing.

On Monday, NATO announced the nationalities of five service members killed when their helicopter crashed a day earlier while landing at the headquarters of Resolute Support Mission, which is training Afghan security forces, in Kabul. A witness told The Associated Press that the helicopter appeared to strike a monitoring balloon.

The crash killed two British service members, two American service members and a French civilian contractor, NATO said in a statement. Five others were injured. NATO did not release the victims' identities, saying it left that to the relevant national authorities.

"We're deeply saddened by the loss of our teammates," Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, Resolute Support's deputy chief of staff for communications, was quoted as saying in a statement. "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected in this tragic incident and we pray for the full recovery of those injured."

Meanwhile, Taliban insurgents attacked Afghan security forces in multiple locations in Ghazni province on Monday, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

Insurgents began attacking police checkpoints in Giro district at about 6:30 a.m. and sporadic gun battles continued throughout the day, he said.

Militants also attacked the police station in Ghazni city "from three different directions," Sediqqi said, adding that Afghan army helicopters had been deployed to the scene to support police.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the militant group had shut down the Kabul-Kandahar highway in Ghazni province.

In a separate incident, a C-208 Afghan army plane crashed as result of a technical problem in central Bamyan province, the Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday. Two crew members were killed and five wounded as the plane went down while traveling from Bamyan toward Kandahar province.

Associated Press writers Mirwais Khan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Ron DePasquale at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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