Kandahar Police Chief Raziq Killed In Attack

The writer is a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army and a former federal secretary. He has also served as chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board

In a suicide attack late Wednesday near the largest US military base in Afghanistan, a bomber killed two Afghan civilians and wounded at least five Czech soldiers belonging to the USA -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition in the country, officials said.

The gunman, reported to be a security guard, opened fire as officials left a meeting in Kandahar province.

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan, Scott Miller, was also at the meeting, but was not harmed, a spokesman for the US-led mission said.

"Initial reports indicate this was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident", a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation statement said.

"At Kandahar palace today: Afghan-on-Afghan incident, as initial reports indicate".

Afghan and worldwide security officials said Gen Raziq had been shot in the back as he left the meeting and died from his wounds.

Miller, 57, took over last month as the top US commander in Afghanistan, replacing Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr.

Razeq was criticised by human rights groups but highly respected by USA officers who saw him as one of Afghanistan's most effective leaders, largely responsible for keeping Kandahar province under control.

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Col Peters said initial reports indicated the original attacker is dead.

Locals in Kandahar reported hearing a large explosion followed by gunfire.

"This serious attack seems likely to shake the confidence of the government as security forces prepare for one of their largest operations of the year, guarding more than 5000 polling centres in the upcoming parliamentary elections", said Graeme Smith, a consultant for the conflict monitoring organisation International Crisis Group.

Poll-related violence has increased ahead of the long-delayed vote, with hundreds of people killed or wounded in attacks across the country.

Raziq is often characterized as a USA -backed warlord in Afghanistan.

The BBC's Secunder Kermani in Kabul says Gen Raziq was a powerful opponent of the Taliban. Two Americans were wounded in the cross-fire and they have been medically evacuated.

He was accused of abuses, including torturing Taliban inmates, but had brought reasonable security in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban militants.

Governor Wesa took charge of the province after his predecessor Humayun Azizi was injured in the same 2017 attack.

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