Powerful Afghan police commander Gen Abdul Razeq killed in shooting

English and science lessons have been exchanged for recitations of the Koran

Kandahar police chief General Abdul Raziq and governor Zalmai Wesa were reportedly killed when a member of the provincial governor's elite guards turned his gun on his colleagues and American troops who were leaving a high-level security meeting at the Kandahar palace on Thursday.

Sources also say the attack was initiated by at least one of the governor's bodyguards.

The local head of the National Directorate of Security were also injured in the shooting, a senior security official said, the latest in a string of attacks targeting officials and candidates in the lead up to the October 20 parliamentary elections.

Afghan TV reported that members of the Kandahar province governor's elite guards began firing on Americans and Afghan officials during the meeting, which included Gen. Scott Miller, the head of USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan.

"Provincial officials including the governor, the police chief and other officials were accompanying the foreign guests to the plane when the gunshots happened", said Jan Khakrezwal, head of the Kandahar provincial council, as quoted by Reuters. General Miller was safely evacuated form the area after the incident, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said. "Two Americans were wounded in the cross-fire and they have been medically evacuated", NATO's Resolute Support mission said in a statement.


Miller, 57, took over last month as the top US commander in Afghanistan, replacing Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack that comes two days before Afghanistan´s parliamentary elections that the militant group has vowed to disrupt. A spokesperson for the provincial governor Omar Zwak said that "explosives were placed inside his [Qahraman's] sofa", reported Tolo News. Bagram is located about 40 kilometers from Kabul and is the site of a sprawling US military base. Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in the months leading up to the long-delayed ballot.

He was accused of abuses, including torturing Taliban inmates, but had brought reasonable security in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban militants.

Abdul Jabar Qahraman became the 10th election candidate to die ahead of Saturday's polls when the blast tore through his campaign office.

The flamboyant commander, he had survived several attempts on his life over many years and narrowly escaped an attack last year in which five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates were killed in Kandahar.

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