Unknown armed men opened fire and killed the highest-ranking policewoman in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, officials told Efe on Monday.

Contacted by phone from Kabul, Helmand government spokesman Omar Zawak said the police officer died of gunshot wounds in the hospital where she was taken around 6:00 a.m. Monday.

The provincial police chief, Abdul Nabi Elham, had identified the victim as Lt. Nigar, but did not wish to give personal details about her nor offer further information about Sunday's attack.

Hospital sources said the policewoman had been shot several times in the neck.

This was the second deadly attack against a police officer in Helmand in the past five months.

Another high-ranking agent died last week in an attack in the northern province of Jowzjan.

Together with neigboring Kandahar, birthplace of the Taliban movement in the 1990s, Helmand is one of the provinces with the highest rate of violence and a traditional stronghold of insurgent groups. EFE