Three top provincial leaders – including the governor and a fearsome police chief – were killed and two Americans injured Thursday in an inside attack by Afghan bodyguards at a security conference in Kandahar. Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was also at the meeting, but was unharmed.
Agha Lala Dastageri, Kandahar’s deputy provincial governor, said powerful provincial police chief Abdul Raziq was among the dead, along with Kandahar Gov. Zalmay Wesa, who died of his wounds at a nearby hospital.
Dastageri said provincial intelligence chief Abdul Mohmin also died inside the governor’s residential compound where the attack occurred.
U.S. officials disputed a claim by a Taliban spokesman that Miller, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, was the target of the attack.
The two injured Americans included a service member and a civilian, according to Col. David Butler, a spokesperson for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. A contractor from a NATO coalition partner also was injured.
“This was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident,” Butler said in a statement, adding that the two wounded Americans had been “medically evacuated and are stable.”
“Gen. Miller is uninjured,” Butler said. “We are being told the area is secure.”
The spokesman said “the attacker” is dead, although it appears that several bodyguards of Wesa’s elite guard unit were involved in the melee when they turned their guns on the dignitaries at the conference.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, the spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan’s southern region, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the Taliban carried out the attack. He said Miller, who took command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan last month, was the target.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doug Stanglin and Tom Vanden Brook