COAS condemns terrorist attack in Afghanistan’s Kandahar

Saul Bowman
October 19, 2018

Kandahar provincial police chief General Abdul Raziq and two other Afghan officials were killed in the attack that was carried out by one of the official's own guards.

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

Butler later tweeted a message from General Miller, saying "Today I lost a great friend Lt. Gen. Raziq".

At least 12 people were wounded, including 3 Americans and a provincial governor, in the Taliban-claimed attack that comes two days before Afghanistan's long-delayed parliamentary elections.

The delegates had just gathered for a group photo when gunfire broke out inside the provincial governor's compound in Kandahar City, according to an AP television cameraman who was present when the shooting began.

"I very much regret to say that several high level officials have been killed", announced Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Initial reports say the attacker was killed. He was unhurt, though three Americans... The Taliban claimed the attack and said Miller was the target.

"General Miller is uninjured", he added.

Three Americans also were wounded in the attack at Kandahar Palace, said Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan.

General Razeq was criticised by human rights groups but highly respected by U.S. officers who saw him as one of Afghanistan's most effective leaders, largely responsible for keeping Kandahar province under control.

KABUL-When Afghans cast ballots Saturday in parliamentary elections viewed as a crucial test run for the presidential vote, it will be a shrinking number of voters that braves the tide of Taliban and Islamic State violence. "People who are trying to help in holding this process successfully by providing security should be targeted and no stone should be left unturned for the prevention and failure [of the election]", Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had said earlier.

Raziq, an anti-Taliban strongman, was widely seen as a bulwark against the insurgency in Kandahar, the militant group's birthplace, and had previously survived multiple assassination attempts.

The Security Council's statement issued late Thursday from United Nations headquarters said the members underscored the importance of security for elections and that violence or threats meant to disrupt the elections were unacceptable. So far this year, eight US soldiers and three other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation service members have died in Afghanistan. US officials over the summer held direct talks with the Taliban in an effort to put an end to years of violence inside the country. He narrowly escaped an attack past year in which five Emiratis were killed and the UAE's ambassador to Afghanistan Juma Al Kaabi was injured.

Abdul Jabar Qahraman had been meeting with supporters in his campaign office in the southern province of Helmand - a Taliban stronghold - when a bomb hidden under a sofa exploded, provincial governor spokesman Omar Zhwak told AFP.

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