Top US commander in Afghanistan survives a deadly insider attack that killed senior Afghan officials and wounded 2 Americans

An Afghan policeman keeps watch at a check point in Ghazni city, Afghanistan

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An Afghan policeman keeps watch at a check point in Ghazni city, Afghanistan
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REUTERS/Mustafa Andaleb

  • In an insider attack Thursday, one of the bodyguards of a local Afghan governor turned his weapon on his compatriots and American military personnel during a high-level meeting attended by the top US commander in Afghanistan.
  • The Afghan police chief was killed in the attack, reportedly along with the governor and the local intelligence chief.
  • Two Americans, a service member and a civilian, were wounded and evacuated. Gen. Scott Miller, the commander in charge of the war effort, escaped the attack uninjured.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller escaped unhurt after a burst of gunfire in the governor’s compound in Kandahar province on Thursday but the powerful police chief General Abdul Raziq was killed, officials said.

A senior security official said the governor’s bodyguard opened fire and hit Raziq in the back as soon as officials came out of the meeting. Several Afghan and international security officials said Raziq, one of Afghanistan’s most powerful commanders with a fearsome reputation as an enemy of the Taliban, had been killed.

Governor Zalmay Wesa and Gen. Mominera, the local head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence service in Kandahar, were also killed in the attack, according to the New York Times and several other reports.

Thursday’s incident follows two other fatal insider attacks this year. Two previous attacks in September and July killed two American service members.

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. A third non-American coalition contractor was also wounded in the exchange.

“Today, I lost a great friend, LTG Raziq. We had served together for many years,” Miller said in a statement released by Resolute Support. “Afghanistan lost a patriot, my condolences to the people of Afghanistan. The good he did for Afghanistan and the Afghan people cannot be undone.”

The attacker, a Taliban infiltrator, is dead, and the area is now secure.

“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.

Includes reporting by Ismail Sameem and Hamid Shalizi in Kabul and editing by Robert Birsel