Afghanistan: Governor of Kandahar, Police chief of Kandahar and intelligence chief of Kandahar have been killed, among others, in an insider attack claimed by Taliban in the governor’s office in Kandahar on Thursday.
Kandahar’s police chief General Abdul Raziq, Kandahar governor Zalmay Wesa and the National Security Directorate provincial chief have been reportedly killed in the attack among other Afghan officials. A cameraman of Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) was also killed in the attack.
The shooting happened after the meeting concluded and officials were leaving, Tolo news reported.
According to latest reports, General Scott Miller, commander of Resolute Support and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, has been wounded in the attack. Although this has not yet been confirmed by NATO, whose spokesperson said “three Americans were wounded in the cross-fire”.
Afghan Taliban have officially claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that General Raziq and General Miller were among the targets. The Taliban attacker was shot dead.
According to unconfirmed reports, the attacker was a bodyguard of the governor. ITCT has obtained images of the Taliban infiltrator.
Head of South Asia desk Faran Jeffery, while talking to ITCT Newsdesk, said, “This is one of the biggest Taliban attacks in a decade in terms of number of High Valued Targets (HVTs) killed. By killing Kandahar police chief, provincial intelligence chief and governor in one attack, Taliban are aiming to send a message of show of power. They’re saying ‘we are in control’. With this attack, Taliban have also sent an appealing message to Afghan civilians because General Abdul Raziq was known to many Afghans as a torturer. In fact, he was called torturer-in-chief by Human Rights Watch. On the other hand, UN wanted him prosecuted for war crimes. He was also involved in drug smuggling and assassinations of rivals in Afghanistan. He also made enemies with the state of Pakistan, going out of his way to condemn Afghanistan’s neighboring state. For many Afghans, he was bad news. Not many Afghans will miss him.”
A statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Office has said that Pakistan condemns Kandahar terrorist attack. “Pakistan stands with the Afghan government and people and reiterates its support for the Afghan democratic process. We hope that the parliamentary elections taking place the day after tomorrow would be held peacefully. Strengthening of democracy is key to long term peace and security in Afghanistan,” the statement from Pakistan Foreign Office said.
General Raziq’s assassination is a major blow to counter-Taliban efforts in Kandahar, where the U.S. military operates the second largest base in the country.
Hours after the attack, Afghan government said Kandahar governor Zalmai Wesa has been wounded but still alive. It was initially reported that Kandahar governor has passed away.
It has been confirmed by Afghan authorities that the attack was carried out by one of the bodyguards of Kandahar’s governor. The attacker has been identified by the Afghan Army as “Gulbuddin”.
UPDATE (20th October 2018)
Afghan Taliban released video testimony of the militant who carried out the Kandahar attack. The video is seven minutes and twenty one seconds in duration and also features the Taliban infiltrator undergoing training.
Click here to view the full video.
UPDATE (22nd October 2018)
U.S. Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley was wounded in the attack in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar last week that killed two senior Afghan officials, the Pentagon says.
“I can confirm that he is recovering from a gunshot wound he received during the attack in Kandahar,” U.S. military spokesman Navy Commander Grant Neeley said on October 21.
“He is being treated at a Resolute Support hospital in Kandahar,” Neeley added.
The Pentagon said one U.S. civilian and a coalition contractor were also wounded in the October 18 attack that was claimed by the Taliban.
The National Directorate of Security Chief Masum Stanekzai said in a security meeting with officials that the attacker who targeted General Abdul Raziq, had been assigned as the bodyguard of the Kandahar governor with a fake Tazkera, fake name and fake personal assurance.
This story will be updated in case of new information.