Kandahar: An attack on a high-level security meeting in Afghanistan on Thursday, that targeted top US commander General Scott Miller, killed at least three people, said the militant group Taliban. Also Read - Afghan Woman Inspires Others to Breastfeed 20 Newborns who Lost Their Mothers After Terror Attack in Kabul Maternity Hospital
Miller survived the assault that left 12 people injured, including three Americans and a provincial governor, said NATO and Afghan officials. Civilians who were alerted of the attacks rushed to their homes after the shooting began and shuttered shops. Immediately after the attack, security forces rushed to the southern city of Kandahar. Also Read - End of Humanity in Afghanistan: Twitter Left in Jitters After 'Condemnable Barbaric' Terror Attack in Kabul Maternity Hospital-Funeral
A witness said that the city was “full of military forces”. He added, “They don’t allow anyone to come out of their houses.” Also Read - Afghanistan: 16 Dead in Kabul Attack, 24 in Funeral Bombing; India Calls Them 'Barbaric' Acts
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that General Miller and Kandahar provincial police chief General Abdul Raziq, who died, were the targets of the shooting.
A senior government official told news agency AFP, “General Raziq and the provincial NDS (intelligence agency) chief have been killed, and the governor himself is in a critical condition.”
An Afghan journalist working for state media was also killed in the shooting, stated media support group NAI. Six of Raziq’s bodyguards and two intelligence officers were wounded in the attack. The attack was carried out by one of the governor’s security personnel. Moreover, the shooter had been killed, said an official.
An Afghan security official told AFP that the attack took place as Afghanistan officials, including Miller, were leaving the meeting. A hospital official reportedly said that several senior officials were taken to the medical facility.
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. He long controlled the province with an iron hand and was accused of running secret torture chambers, an allegation he denied.
Afghanistan is tense ahead of the October 20 legislative election after the Taliban pledged to attack the ballot. More than 2,500 candidates are competing for 249 seats in the lower house, including doctors, mullahs, and the sons of former warlords. The election process has already been marred by bloody violence, with hundreds killed or wounded in recent months.
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 PTI inputs)