Afghanistan’s election fee on Friday postponed elections in Kandahar for every week, following a brazen assault on a high-profile safety assembly there with a U.S. delegation that killed not less than two senior provincial officers, together with the province’s police chief.
The event got here as mourners gathered for the funeral of police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, assassinated in Thursday’s assault. The Taliban have claimed duty for the assault, saying they focused the highest U.S. commander within the nation, Gen. Scott Miller, who was on the assembly however was unhurt.
The Impartial Election Fee’s deputy spokesman Aziz Ibrahimi mentioned the postponement was meant to permit mourners to look at funeral rights for the slain officers.
Additionally killed in Thursday’s assault was the Kandahar intelligence chief, Abdul Mohmin, however the situation of the province’s governor, Zalmay Wesa, who was wounded, has been shrouded in thriller because the assault. Some experiences say Wesa has been transferred to a NATO hospital outdoors Kandahar.
The Kandahar assembly, convened to debate safety plans for Saturday’s parliamentary elections, had simply concluded when an elite Afghan guard turned his gun on the departing delegation.
Two Afghan policemen have been additionally killed and three have been wounded within the assault, in accordance with a Kandahar hospital official who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he wasn’t licensed to speak to reporters.
Three Individuals — a U.S. service member, a coalition contractor and an American civilian — have been wounded and in secure situation, NATO mentioned.
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The funeral prayers for Raziq, who had been credited with single-handedly holding the Taliban at bay in a province the insurgents as soon as thought-about their religious heartland, have been being held Friday at Kandahar’s most well-known shrine, Khareq Mubarak, mentioned to comprise the cloak of the Prophet Muhammad.
A Kandahar lawmaker working for parliament, Khaled Pashtun, mentioned the one-week postponement within the polling was meant to provide voters who might need stayed at residence on Saturday, afraid so quickly after the assault, the prospect to vote within the elections.
Nonetheless, the assault, greater than 17 years after the Taliban have been pushed from energy, underscores the harrowing insecurity in Afghanistan forward of the elections.
In line with an AP tv cameraman who was on the assembly, the delegates had simply gathered for a bunch photograph when gunfire broke out contained in the provincial governor’s compound in Kandahar metropolis. Everybody scattered, and the U.S. individuals scrambled towards their helicopter. However a firefight broke out between the U.S. service members and Afghan police after they tried to cease the U.S. delegation from reaching their helicopter, mentioned the cameraman.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi mentioned the militant group carried out the assault and that Miller was the goal.
However U.S. Military Col. David Butler, who attended the assembly with Miller, mentioned Raziq was clearly the goal, not the U.S. basic. Butler mentioned the assailant shot at Raziq after which appeared to spray the realm with gunfire earlier than he was killed.
He mentioned Miller and the Afghan leaders had moved outdoors the palace after a number of hours of conferences and have been standing in small teams within the compound. He mentioned he heard a number of photographs “and all of us took cowl. It was over in seconds.”
Butler added that Miller made positive the scene was safe and the wounded have been taken away by medivac earlier than he left the realm and returned to Kabul.
Razik was an in depth U.S. ally regardless of widespread allegations of corruption. He dominated Kandahar with an iron fist and had survived a number of previous assassination makes an attempt, together with one final yr that killed 5 diplomats from the United Arab Emirates.
The Taliban have vowed to disrupt Saturday’s parliamentary elections, warning lecturers and college students to not permit colleges for use for polling and warning Afghans to avoid the polls.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s adviser, Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, mentioned the assault was meant to disrupt elections and urged voters to defy Taliban threats, saying casting their poll “could be an enormous slap on the face of the enemy.”
U.S. Protection Secretary Jim Mattis mentioned the killing of the Kandahar police chief is unlikely to essentially weaken the safety state of affairs. Talking whereas in Singapore for a convention on Thursday, Mattis known as Raziq’s demise a tragic loss however mentioned he believes the Afghan safety forces have matured to the purpose the place they’ll proceed combating the Taliban with out him.
The U.N. Safety Council condemned the assaults and others lately in Afghanistan and mentioned violence or threats supposed to disrupt the elections have been unacceptable.
Pakistan closed its two official border crossings with Afghanistan, the overseas ministry mentioned. The event got here on the request of the Afghan authorities, which routinely accuses Pakistan of harboring Taliban militants, a cost Islamabad denies. The crossings would stay closed Friday and Saturday.
Safety has been steadily deteriorating in Afghanistan with more and more audacious assaults by insurgents and Afghanistan’s safety forces have been on excessive alert forward of Saturday’s elections.