3 top Afghan officials killed by guards, USA general survives

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There are reports that the local army commander also died.

Miller was not hurt in the shooting, NATO's Resolute Support mission spokesman Colonel Knut Peters said in a statement.

The blast wounded seven people, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Mr. Mattis said he had yet spoken to Gen. Miller and could not confirm the Taliban's claim of responsibility.

In recent months, Afghan troops have come under near-daily attacks.

A police chief was killed after one of his own guards gunned him and officials down in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

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An Afghan lawmaker contesting this week's parliamentary elections was among four people killed on Wednesday by a bomb planted under his office chair, officials said, in an attack claimed by Taliban militants.

"General Raziq was among the first ones to be shot".

According to reports, Provincial Governor Zalmai Weesa was also killed in the attack; however, Afghan Interior Ministry has said that he was wounded and is being treated in a hospital.

Raziq had been police chief of Kandahar since 2011 and had been accused of severe human rights abuses, including running a secret torture center. His forces received Western training and funds, and USA military officials often consulted him. He always denied the accusations.

"We stabilized and treated the wounded and secured the area, " said Butler, adding that Miller made sure the scene was secure and the wounded were taken away by medivac before he left the area and returned to Kabul. He ruled in Kandahar, the former Taliban heartland, with an iron fist and had survived several attempts to kill him, including one a year ago that resulted in the death of five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates.

Elections are due to be held across most of the rest of Afghanistan on Saturday.

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More than 2,500 candidates are competing for 249 seats in the lower house, including doctors, mullahs, and the sons of former warlords.

At least 10 candidates have been killed in attacks around the country in the run-up to the vote.

Earlier this year, Afghan authorities announced that they were ready to begin holding direct talks with Taliban officials that would have no preconditions, albeit with negotiations being held "within the framework of the Afghan constitution".

Yet he was also considered a bulwark against insurgents, was supported by United States forces and was credited with security improvements in recent years.

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..."

"Terrorism can have a short-term effect", Mattis said.

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