The Afghan police chief and a journalist were among three killed on Thursday when a gunman opened fire on a high-level security meeting attended by top US commander General Scott Miller, officials said. Among those reported killed in the attack inside the governor’s compound in southern Kandahar province was the top police general, Abdul Raziq.
"General Raziq, one of Afghanistan's most powerful security officials and the provincial NDS (intelligence agency) chief have been killed, and the governor himself is in a critical condition," a senior government official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
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Six of Raziq's bodyguards and two intelligence officers also were wounded in the attack that was carried out by one of the governor's security personnel, the official said.
The Taliban said Miller and General Abdul Raziq -- the police chief of Kandahar province who had a fierce reputation for brutality -- were the targets of the shooting.
An Afghan journalist working for state media also died, media support group NAI said in a statement.
An Afghan security official told AFP the attack happened as the officials, including Miller, were leaving the meeting. Miller was not hurt in the shooting, NATO's Resolute Support mission spokesman Colonel Knut Peters said in a statement.
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.
Afghanistan is tense ahead of the October 20 legislative election after the Taliban pledged to attack the ballot.
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At least 10 candidates have been killed so far, including Abdul Jabar Qahraman who was blown up Wednesday by a bomb placed under his sofa in the southern province of Helmand.
The election is seen as a rehearsal for the presidential vote scheduled for April and an important milestone ahead of a UN meeting in Geneva in November where Afghanistan is under pressure to show progress on "democratic processes”.
(With inputs from agencies)