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Kandahar police chief killed by Taliban

19 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed on late Thursday that Kandahar police chief General Abdul Raziq Achakzai, and intelligence chief in Kandahar Momin were killed in shooting at a security meeting of senior local and American commanders.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said Taliban carried out the attack and released a photograph of the alleged attacker, who was one of the guards of the slain police officer.

Ahmadi said in a statement that the top American commander General Austin Scott Miller, who was also in the meeting, and Gen Raziq, were the “prime target.”

The US-led Resolute Support mission in Kabul and the US defence department Pentagon said that Gen Miller was unhurt.

“At Kandahar palace today: In fact, three coalition personnel were wounded – one US service member, one American civilian and one coalition contractor. All three have been medically evacuated and are stable. General Miller is uninjured. Afghan officials were the targets,” the mission tweeted.

Raziq, who was known for his tough anti-Taliban stance, had earlier survived several attacks.

Afghan officials did not confirm reports that Kandahar Governor Zalmay Weesa was also killed in the deadly attack that killed and injured top security officials in Kandahar, the Taliban birthplace.

Earlier, section of the Afghan media had quoted officials as confirming the death of Weesa. However, officials later said Weesa was critically injured and shifted to a local hospital in Kandahar.

Kabul Press Club confirmed that Afghan National Radio TV (RTA) Saleem was also killed in the attack. Afghan officials said that 12 people, including several guards of Gen Raziq, were injured in the attack.

Correspondents in Kandahar said that the authorities had closed all bazaars and markets in Kandahar in the morning in view of the high-level meeting and the arrival of the NATO commander in the city. The meeting that lasted for nearly six hours was aimed at discussing security for the October 20 parliamentary elections in Kandahar and other southern provinces.

The attack again raised serious concern at the inside attack after one of the guards sprayed bullets at the high-level security meeting attended by top American commander and senior Afghan security officials.

Timing of the attack was important as the incident happened just two days ahead of the parliamentary and district council elections.

On Wednesday, Taliban also killed influential parliamentary candidate Abdul Jabar Qaharman in a bomb blast in southern Helmand.

President Ashraf Ghani confirmed the death of Gen Raziq in an address to the nation.

Iannounce that the Kandahar police chief and intelligence chief have been martyred in a painful incident. I want to convey my condolences to the whole nation and particularly to the people of Kandahar. The situation in Kandahar is being monitored and the situation will soon return to normalcy, he said.

President Ghani said he presided over a high-level meeting to review the situation after the incident and ordered dispatching a unit of commando forces, led by the intelligence chief Masoom Stanikzai, to Kandahar. He also instructed all security forces in Kandahar to step up measures for maintaining order and security.

Tolo TV reported that the incident happened when officials were leaving the governor’s office and were on their way to a helipad.

Condemning the terrorist attack, Pakistan said the country stands with the Afghan government and people, reiterating its support for the Afghan democratic process.

“We hope that the parliamentary elections due to take place the day after tomorrow would be held peacefully. Strengthening of democracy is a key to long term peace and security in Afghanistan,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

“Pakistan condemns terrorism,” it added.

Islamabad also expressed “heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and pray for swift recovery of the injured”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the Kandahar incident. He linked Pakistan’s peace and security to that of Afghanistan’s in a tweet.

Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also condemned the deadly terrorist attack and expressed desire to see an end to prolonged violence in the neighbouring country.

Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal also condemned the attack.

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