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Female Afghan senator injured, daughter killed, in highway ambush

KABUL, Afghanistan - A female senator and her husband were injured and their daughter killed Wednesday when they were ambushed on a section of highway prone to Taliban attacks.

Roh Gul Khairzad, 39, was wounded as the family traveled from the Afghan capital, Kabul, to her home in Nimroz province, according to Fazal Ahmad Sabawoon, a spokesman for Ghazni Province where the attack happened.

The politician and her husband were taken to the Muqur District Clinic for treatment but her daughter and the family’s bodyguard were killed, Sabawoon said.

He did not have information on the age of the dead girl, but another senator, Mohammad Alam, told The Associated Press that the girl was eight years old.

The ambush took place on the main highway from Kabul to the southern city of Kandahar, The Associated Press said, in an area in which the Taliban often staged such attacks.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid could not immediately confirm or deny responsibility for the ambush, saying it was hard to obtain information from the area.

According to an online biography, Khairzad is a mother to six other children and had previously worked as a teacher before entering politics.

Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar on Tuesday declared publicly that he wants good relations with the world, supports “modern” education and will respect other ethnic and religious communities within Afghanistan.

His comments appeared to be part of an effort to rehabilitate the Taliban’s image - damaged when its fighters shot Pakistan teenager Malala Yousafzai in the head because she had campaigned for girls' education.

NBC News' Alastair Jamieson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related: Taliban spin? Mullah Omar supports education, respects other religions