Gunman opens fire on Afghan-US security meeting, killing top police chief
The Taliban said General Abdul Raziq, a powerful police chief in Kandahar province with a fierce reputation for brutality, was the target of the shooting
An Afghan security chief and a journalist were killed and three Americans wounded on Thursday when a gunman opened fire on a high-level security meeting attended by US commander General Scott Miller, officials said.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack in the southern city of Kandahar that comes two days before Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections, which the militant group has vowed to disrupt.
Security forces swarmed the city after the attack at the provincial governor’s office where the senior Afghan and foreign officials had gathered, witnesses said.
The Taliban said General Abdul Raziq, the powerful police chief of Kandahar province with a fierce reputation for brutality, was the target of the shooting.
Raziq was killed and six of his bodyguards wounded, a provincial security official said on condition of anonymity.
“The shooting happened as they were leaving the meeting,” the official said, adding two members of Afghanistan’s spy agency also were injured.
Miller was not hurt in the shooting, Nato mission spokesman Colonel Knut Peters said in a statement.
Three Americans, including a soldier, civilian and contractor, were wounded in the crossfire.
“Initial reports indicate this was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident,” Peters said. “We are being told the area is secure.”
Several senior officials were taken to a local hospital but it would not provide further details.
One witness said the city was “full of military forces”.
“They don’t allow anyone to come out of their houses,” he said.
Afghanistan is on high alert before the long-delayed legislative elections, scheduled for October 20, after the Taliban pledged to attack the ballot. More than 2,500 candidates are competing for 249 seats in the lower house.
The election process has already been marred by violence, with hundreds killed or wounded in recent months.
At least 10 candidates have been killed so far, including Abdul Jabar Qahraman who was blown up on Wednesday by a bomb placed under his sofa in the southern province of Helmand.