U.S. soldiers guard the voter registration office in Kabul
(CNN) — Two Western election workers have been killed in a suspected militant attack in a remote eastern region of Afghanistan, an Afghan official has said.
One private security source told CNN on Wednesday the pair were working for Global Risks, a British company helping the United Nations to register Afghans for the elections scheduled to take place in September.
Some reports said an Afghan translator was also killed in the attack, which took place near Nurestan.
“I confirm that there was an attack by a number of people and two foreigners and one Afghan were killed,” Deputy Interior Minister Hilalludin Hilal told The Associated Press. The attack occurred Tuesday, Hilal said.
It was unclear where the foreign nationals were from or whether they were U.N. employees.
Afghanistan, which is grappling with a growing drug trade and sporadic violence, is a key security concern for the West two years after a U.S.-led coalition toppled the Taliban for harboring al Qaeda terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
International security officials are particularly concerned about the September elections. In late March, Afghan President Hamid Karzai postponed the poll — originally scheduled for June — citing low voter registration.
But the U.N. is pressing ahead with plans to register 10 million Afghan voters across the country, despite mounting violence by Taliban-led militants.
The world body has so far registered almost 2 million Afghans in eight major cities for the election, but has only just started to sign up voters in lawless remote regions.