Afghanistan – A former Afghan president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, survived a Taliban ambush on Thursday in northern Kunduz province, where militants clashed with police for a second straight night, officials said.

The violence jolted the once-quiet part of the country a week before a presidential election that the militants have vowed to disrupt. Insurgents are spreading their attacks from the south and east into Afghanistan's north and west.

Rabbani, now a member of parliament, is a one of the main supporters of Abdullah Abdullah, the leading rival to incumbent Hamid Karzai in the August 20 poll.

The former president was traveling on a road in the Ali Abad district of Kunduz when the Taliban ambushed him with rocket propelled grenades and gunfire, said the chief of the district, Habibullah Mohtashim.

Rabbani and those in his convoy were unhurt, while three fighters died in a clash with bodyguards and police, he added.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, speaking from an undisclosed location, claimed responsibility for the attack.

(Additional reporting by Ismail Sameem in Kandahar and Sayed Salahuddin in Kabul; writing by Peter Graff and Sayed Salahuddin, editing by Ron Popeski)