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Western journalist is killed in Afghanistan

KABUL — Two men shot a Swedish reporter on a crowded street in Kabul on Tuesday, in a rare assassination-style killing of a Westerner that raised fresh questions about the safety of the large international presence expected to remain here after US-led combat forces depart this year.

The reporter, Nils Horner, 51, a longtime foreign correspondent for Swedish Radio, was shot two blocks from the wreckage of a restaurant where suicide attackers killed 21 people, most of them foreigners, in January. Colonel Najibullah Samsour, a senior police official, said that Horner was standing outside another restaurant talking to security guards when a pair of men in what was described as traditional clothing walked up.

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One of the men then drew a pistol and fired a single shot into the journalist’s face, Samsour said. The men fled, and no arrests had been made by day’s end. A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, denied that the group was involved, and there was no other claim of responsibility reported.

Another Afghan security official said the killer’s pistol was fitted with a silencer.

The daylight attack was the first time in years that a Westerner appeared to have been specifically targeted and killed in Kabul. It took place in one of Kabul’s most heavily guarded neighborhoods, amid especially heavy security.

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