Top Afghan commander Raziq killed in Kandahar gun attack

Jabar Qahraman, Afghan election candidate, killed in explosion in campaign office

A high-level meeting on security plans for Afghanistan's parliamentary elections had just concluded when an elite Afghan guard turned his gun on the departing delegation Thursday, killing the powerful Kandahar police chief but missing the top USA commander in the country, Gen. Scott Miller.

"At 3:30 p.m., after a meeting about the security of elections, when the high-ranking participants were heading to helicopters, an enemy infiltrator opened fire on them", the deputy minister of interior, Gen. Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi, said at a news conference.

The attack came at the end of a high-level security meeting of US Forces and NATO Resolute Support Mission commander General Scott Miller, provincial governor Zalmay Wesa and provincial spy chief Abdul Mohmin.

President Ashraf Ghani also reportedly sent a high-ranking delegation to Kandahar, along with special forces, to investigate the incident.

In January a year ago, the visiting ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, five other UAE diplomats and some local officials were killed by explosives hidden in a government building in Kandahar.

Security was stepped up in Kandahar, with buildings around the governor's office sealed off ahead of Friday's expected arrival of a team of investigators from Kabul, the capital.

Security forces swarmed the southern city of Kandahar after the shooting that shuttered shops and sent terrified civilians - already on high alert for attacks - into their homes.

At least two other Afghan officials also were killed in the incident, which comes just two days before key elections in Afghanistan. "Three American's were wounded, have been medically evacuated and are stable".

He said Gen. Miller was the target and said Raziq, the governor and the intelligence chief were killed.

"This killing is the most significant military victory for the Taliban in recent memory", said Graeme Smith, a consultant with the International Crisis Group.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Peters said initial reports indicate one of the original attackers is dead. "I express my deepest sympathy and grief with all people of Afghanistan, especially with residents of the town".

Mattis said he did not see Raziq's death as changing things on the ground in Kandahar.

Poll-related violence has increased ahead of the long-delayed vote, with hundreds of people killed or wounded in attacks across the country.

"Pakistan stands by the government and the people of Afghanistan in their quest for lasting peace and stability", he said in a statement. "His mission there is to coordinate our USA efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table", State Department press secretary Heather Nauert told reporters last week.

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