Gen. Scott Miller, commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, survived the Kandahar attack.The top US commander in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, escaped unhurt after a burst of gunfire in the governor’s compound in Kandahar province but the powerful police chief General Abdul Razeq was killed, officials said.
A senior security official said the governor’s bodyguard opened fire and hit Razeq in the back as soon as officials came out of the meeting on Wednesday. The governor and the local head of the NDS intelligence service were wounded.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had targeted both Miller and Razeq, the police chief of Kandahar who had a fearsome reputation as a ruthless opponent of the insurgents in their southern Afghan heartlands.
Miller, who had been attending a meeting with security officials ahead of parliamentary elections on Saturday, was not injured but two Americans were wounded in the crossfire and had been evacuated, NATO spokesman Colonel Knut Peters said.
“Provincial officials including the governor, the police chief and other officials were accompanying the foreign guests to the plane when the gunshots happened,” said Said Jan Khakrezwal, the head of the provincial council.
Local officials said Miller appeared to have been saved by his body armour but there was no immediate confirmation from NATO headquarters.
Razeq was criticised by human rights groups but highly respected by US officers who saw him as one of Afghanistan’s most effective leaders, largely responsible for keeping Kandahar province under control.
“The brutal police chief of Kandahar has been killed along several other officials,” a Taliban statement said.
The flamboyant commander, whose men wore badges bearing his name, had survived several attempts on his life over many years and narrowly escaped an attack last year in which five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates were killed in Kandahar.
A cameramen working for Afghanistan’s RTA state television was also killed on Thursday, the director of the Afghanistan journalists center, Ahmad Quraishi, said.