A senior US commander has narrowly escaped a gun attack in which top Afghan security officials were killed.
The gunman, reported to be acting as a bodyguard, opened fire as officials left a meeting in Kandahar province.
Provincial police chief Gen Abdul Raziq died, as did the head of the NDS intelligence service, reports said. The Kandahar governor was badly wounded.
US commander Gen Scott Miller escaped unhurt but two other US citizens were injured, Nato said.
Initial reports say the attacker was killed.
The Taliban said they carried out the attack and that Gen Miller and Gen Raziq were the targets. In a statement, the group referred to Gen Raziq as a “brutal police chief”.
Violence in Afghanistan has been escalating ahead of Saturday’s elections.
Afghan and international security officials said Gen Raziq had been shot in the back as he left the meeting and died from his wounds.
“Provincial officials including the governor, the police chief and other officials were accompanying the foreign guests to the plane when the gunshots happened,” said Jan Khakrezwal, head of the Kandahar provincial council.
The BBC’s Secunder Kermani in Kabul says Gen Raziq was a powerful opponent of the Taliban.
Nato spokesman Col Knut Peters said the wounded Americans had been evacuated.
“Initial reports indicate this was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident,” Col Peters said. “We are being told the area is secure.”
Last year, Gen Raziq himself narrowly escaped a bomb attack on the Kandahar governor’s guesthouse.
Five officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) died in that attack along with the deputy governor, two senior Afghan officials and two MPs.