Top US commander in Afghanistan target of attack

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Speaking with Radio Liberty, Afghan Interior Minister Wais Barmak said the governor, Toryalai Weesa; the powerful provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq; and its intelligence chief were wounded in the shooting.

AFP adds: Five Czech soldiers have been injured in an apparent suicide attack on a military convoy in Afghanistan only two months after three others were killed, the Czech Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

Two American troops were wounded in the assault, while Afghan police Chief Abdul Raziq was killed.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had targeted both Miller and Razeq, who had a fearsome reputation as a ruthless opponent of insurgents in their southern Afghan heartlands.

U.S. Col. Knut Peters, a spokesman for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, says two Americans troops who were wounded have been medically evacuated.

Initial reports say the attacker was killed.

Three top Afghan officials and a local journalist were killed in a shooting at a meeting attended by Afghan and U.S. officials in this southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Thursday.

Miller was present during the shooting but uninjured.

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"The good he did for Afghanistan and the Afghan people can not be undone". "But right now, we are going toward the election and we will continue to defend the Afghan people".

"I very much regret to say that several high level officials have been killed", announced Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Two days before Afghans head to the polls, an assassination in Kandahar has plunged southern Afghanistan into crisis.

The attack comes just days after the Taliban and the Afghan government said USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban officials in Qatar to discuss a peace deal with the terror group. "His mission there is to coordinate our USA efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table", State Department press secretary Heather Nauert told reporters last week. As provincial police commander, he was widely credited with having curbed guerrilla activity around Kandahar City, where the Taliban was born in the 1990s.

The United Nations Committee against Torture in a report past year noted "numerous and credible allegations" that Raziq was "widely suspected of complicity, if not of personal implication, in severe human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and ... secret detention centers". The committee called for Raziq and other Afghans involved in such practices be duly prosecuted and punished.

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

Speaking to The Guardian, Graeme Smith, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, said "Raziq's rise as the most powerful man in southern Afghanistan brought with it a kind of grim dystopian security to Kandahar city..."

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