3 top Afghan officials killed by guards, U.S. general survives

The attack comes ahead of parliamentary elections Saturday, which the Taliban has threatened to disrupt.

Afghan officials said Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 that three top Kandahar province officials have been killed by their own guards in an attack at a security meeting that also wounded two USA troops.

Agha Lala Dastageri, Kandahar's deputy provincial governor, said powerful provincial police chief Abdul Raziq was among the dead, along with Kandahar Gov. Zalmay Wesa, who died of his wounds at a nearby hospital.

Kandahar's police chief, the provincial governor, and the local intelligence chief were among at least three killed in the shooting.

Colonel Dave Butler, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said "three Americans were wounded, have been medically evacuated and are stable". Their conditions were not immediately known.

NATO, meanwhile, announced that US General Scott Miller escaped the attack unscathed. At the same time, he earned a reputation as a ferocious opponent of the Taliban and gained the respect of successive American and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military officials in Afghanistan.

Pakistan on Thursday strongly condemned the terrorist attack resulting in the sad demise of senior Kandahar security officials and causing injuries to many others.

It was not clear if there had been only one gunman, but accounts of the assassination pointed to an insider attack, carried out by a turncoat among the Afghan security personnel there. He had no further information.

Raziq was considered a legendary symbol of resistance against the Taliban insurgency in the southern parts of Afghanistan, particularly in Kandahar province - once the Taliban's heartland.

In a claim of responsibility, the Taliban said they targeted both Miller and Raziq. Initial reports indicate this was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident. He too said all three officials were killed.

Razik was a particularly powerful figure in southern Kandahar and a close USA ally despite widespread allegations of corruption.

Another major attack a year ago inside the Kandahar governor's office took a heavy toll on officials, killing a deputy governor, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, and members of Parliament. That incident came a day after the Taliban warned candidates to withdraw from the parliamentary election, which the group has vowed to attack.

"Teachers and students of educational institutes must stay away from all enemy political processes and must not allow the invaders and their stooges to utilize their schools for the implementation of their evil projects", the Taliban said in a statement. "Two Americans were wounded in the cross-fire and they have been medically evacuated", Col Knut Peters, a spokesperson for Nato's Afghanistan mission told The National.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi took responsibility for the attack.