Top Afghan official killed after bodyguard opens fire, USA general safe

Jabar Qahraman, Afghan election candidate, killed in explosion in campaign office

Afghan election candidate killed by bomb under office chair

General Miller said in a tweet: "Today I lost a great friend LTG Raziq". There are also reports that the region's provincial governor, Zalmay Wesa, has died of wounds suffered in the attack; Dastageri would neither confirm nor deny those reports to NPR.

Earlier, Foreign Office too issued a statement to condemn the incident and said that Pakistan stands with the Afghan government and people and reiterates its support for the democratic process in Afghanistan. Three Americans, including a soldier, civilian and contractor, were wounded in the cross-fire and had been evacuated from the scene.

However, the United States military said the attack would have no effect on its military presence aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table: "This attack will not change U.S. resolve in our South Asia strategy", Defense Department spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said.

The Taliban claimed on their website that "amid the series of ongoing Al Khandaq crushing operations, mujahideen carried out" the attack.

"General Miller in uninjured", Butler added.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said the target was Gen. Austin "Scott" Miller, who commands USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan, and Raziq.

The Taliban claiming responsibility for the Kandahar attack that killed the US' top Afghan ally shows that the militant group is becoming even bolder in trying to assert itself, author and professor Jeremy Kuzmarov told Sputnik Thursday.

Jabar Qahraman, Afghan election candidate, killed in explosion in campaign office

While Gen Raziq, 40, was the provincial police commander of Kandahar, his influence went beyond his native province. Gen. Abdul Raziq and provincial NDS chief Gen. Mubin Hassankhail dead and few other senior officials wounded.

After the fall of the Taliban, he return to Afghanistan and was elected as a member of parliament.

Raziq, an anti-Taliban strongman, was widely seen as a bulwark against the insurgency in Kandahar, the militant group's birthplace, and had previously survived multiple assassination attempts. Over the years, he steadily rose the ranks of the security forces. Still, Mr. Mattis said he believed the attack would not affect Miller's security arrangements or the movement of the USA military in Afghanistan. Soon after, Abdul Raziq and his family fled to Pakistan until the Taliban was ousted in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The Taliban has threatened to disrupt the voting and has warned Afghans against participating in what the radical Islamist group regards as a pretext for perpetuating US intervention in the country.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi took responsibility for the attack.

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

In January previous year, the visiting ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, five other UAE diplomats and some local officials were killed by explosives hidden in a government building in Kandahar.

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