Top Afghan Police Chief Killed in Kandahar Shooting, US General Unhurt

Geneva Stokes
October 19, 2018

Several Afghan and global security officials said Razeq, one of Afghanistan's most powerful commanders with a fearsome reputation as an enemy of the Taliban, had been killed.

Three top officials in Kandahar, Afghanistan, were killed and two US soldiers wounded in an attack by the officials' own guards.

Details of what happened at the provincial governor's compound in Kandahar city on Thursday continue to emerge.

The attack in the Bagram district of Parwan province, also wounded three Afghan civilians, said Wahida Shakar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor.

Kandahar's provincial governor, Zalmay Wesa, later died of his injuries at the hospital.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the killing of the Kandahar police chief is unlikely to fundamentally weaken the security situation.

General Scott Miller, the top USA commander in Afghanistan who had been at the meeting with General Razeq only moments earlier, was uninjured in the attack, but the local commander of the NDS intelligence service was killed and the provincial governor was severely wounded.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the militant group carried out the attack, and Miller was the target.

"General Miller in uninjured", Butler added.

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Abdul Raziq, a lieutenant general in the Afghan National Police, was a controversial official who had been repeatedly accused of torturing detainees and other abuses during his rise to power in Kandahar.

Raziq was killed and six of his bodyguards wounded, a provincial security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "We stand in solidarity with the fearless people of Afghanistan in fighting terrorism imposed on them".

Khalid Pashtun, a member of parliament from the province, said Afghan Security Forces cordoned off the area and a US military helicopter circled overhead as a gun battle that began at 3 p.m. local time raged on for more than one hour.

In general, in Afghanistan, the rural areas outside the city are considered to be much harder to secure and many of them are under Taliban influence or control.

The attacker was apparently a man wearing the uniform of an Afghan soldier, who opened fire as the officials were in the governor's compound following a security meeting about crucial parliamentary elections on Saturday, officials said.

Widely seen as a bulwark against the Taliban insurgency, Raziq's death has left a unsafe security vacuum that one observer said could lead to a "meltdown" in the south, the Taliban movement's birthplace. He ruled in Kandahar, the former Taliban heartland, with an iron fist and had survived several attempts to kill him, including one past year that resulted in the death of five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates.

"This serious attack seems likely to shake the confidence of the government as security forces prepare for one of their largest operations of the year, guarding more than 5000 polling centres in the upcoming parliamentary elections", said Graeme Smith, a consultant for the conflict monitoring organisation International Crisis Group.

It was unclear if the attack would affect the process, following a meeting last week of Taliban officials and the US special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, but complicates an already hard situation.

On Wednesday, an Afghan Parliament member, Abdul Jabar Qahraman, who was seeking re-election, was killed in a Taliban bomb blast in neighboring Helmand province.

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