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Swedish journalist shot dead in Kabul, two suspects arrested

Updated March 11, 2014

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In this file photo dated Aug. 20, 2013 and made available by Swedish Radio on Tuesday March 11, 2014, Swedish journalist Nils Horner is photographed in Stockholm. — Photo by AP
In this file photo dated Aug. 20, 2013 and made available by Swedish Radio on Tuesday March 11, 2014, Swedish journalist Nils Horner is photographed in Stockholm. — Photo by AP

KABUL: The Swedish Embassy has confirmed that a Swedish journalist has been killed in Kabul, and Afghan police say two suspects have been arrested.

Embassy counselor Christian Nilsson tells The Associated Press that Nils Horner, the Asia correspondent for Swedish Radio, was killed on Tuesday. Nilsson says Horner was in his early 50s.

Sayed Gul Agha Hashimi, the head of the Kabul Criminal Investigation Department, says the man was working for a Swedish news organisation when he was shot in an affluent area in the capital. Hashimi says two suspects have been arrested.

Hashimi says the journalist died while being treated at the hospital.

''I lost my best friend and my brother,'' Karzai said, surrounded by tribal leaders and other Afghan dignitaries and foreign diplomats. ''He was always with me in making important decisions on international and domestic issues.''

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for January's attack on the restaurant in the same area of the city.

Foreigners have been targeted before at guesthouses, luxury hotels and embassies in the city, but hitting a civilian social venue appeared to signal a new and ruthless stage of the Taliban insurgency.

Among the dead in that attack were three Americans, two British citizens, two Canadians, the International Monetary Fund head of mission, and the Lebanese owner of the Taverna du Liban, which was a popular social venue for expats.

It was the deadliest attack on foreign civilians since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. One attacker detonated his suicide vest at the fortified entrance to the restaurant before two other militants stormed inside and gunned down diners and staff.

Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans waving flags and chanting crowded into a cemetery in Kabul on Tuesday after President Hamid Karzai presided over a funeral service for the country's powerful vice president.

Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who died on Sunday at 57, was an ethnic Tajik and a leading commander in the Northern Alliance, which battled the Taliban for years and helped the US in ousting the Islamic militant movement from power in 2001.

His death came a month before presidential elections to choose a successor to Karzai, who is barred from seeking a third term.

At a funeral service earlier in the presidential palace, Karzai lauded him for always promoting national interest.