Kandahar — Gen Abdul Razeq, one of Afghanistan’s most powerful security officials, was killed on Thursday when a bodyguard opened fire following a meeting in the governor’s compound in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said.
Gen Scott Miller, the top US commander in Afghanistan who had been at the meeting with Razeq only moments earlier, was not injured in the attack. But the local commander of the NDS intelligence service and the Kandahar provincial governor Zalmay Wesa were also killed.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had targeted both Miller and Razeq, the police chief of Kandahar who had a fearsome reputation as a ruthless opponent of the insurgents in their southern Afghan heartlands.
The attack was a devastating blow to the Afghan government ahead of parliamentary elections on Saturday, which the Taliban have vowed to disrupt.
The attack underlined how precarious the situation remains in Afghanistan even after Taliban and US officials had opened preliminary contacts aimed at establishing the basis for future peace talks.
Officials said Razeq, Miller and the other officials were walking towards a landing zone as the helicopter taking the US general’s party back to Kabul approached to land when the gunman, who was waiting outside, opened fire on the group.
“Provincial officials including the governor, the police chief and other officials were accompanying the foreign guests to the aircraft when the gunshots happened,” said Said Jan Khakrezwal, the head of the provincial council.