The assassin who killed General Raziq, the chief of Kandahar’s police, and Hassan Khail, the head of the provincial NDS, trained at a Taliban camp. The US military and Resolute Support have yet to identify the assassin as a member of the Taliban, let alone acknowledge that he trained in a Taliban camp.
The Taliban lionized Raziq’s killer in a video that was released on Voice of Jihad, the group’s official website, on Oct. 20. The video was produced by “Al Hijrah Studio, part of the Multimedia Branch of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Cultural Commission.”
Raziq’s death is a major blow to both the Afghan government and the US military, and may cause a security vacuum in the south. He was arguably the most influential power broker in southern Afghanistan, and was stalwart allies of the US. Raziq organized anti-Taliban activities in Kandahar and his reach extended into Helmand, Uruzgan, and Zabul provinces. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Taliban attacks meeting attended by General Miller, kills Kandahar police chief.]
The assassin was identified as “Abu Dajana,” who is also know as “Mujahid Hafiz Zabihullah.” Abu Dajana was identified as a bodyguard to Zalmay Wesa, the governor of Kandahar who was seriously wounded during in the attack.
Abu Dajana was a “heroic martyrdom seeker” who “carried out successful operations on that key high-profile enemy meeting inside Kandahar governor house as an infiltrator in which invaders [sic] commander Miller and other high-ranking officials of Kabul regime were present,” according to the statement that accompanied the video. General Austin Miller, the commander of Resolute Support as well as US Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A), was not injured in the attack, however, two Americans and one NATO member were wounded during the firefight.
The video that lauds Abu Dajana also includes segments that show him training at a Taliban camp. In a short video clip, Abu Dajana is shown firing a pistol at a range. A still image shows him firing a machine gun.
The Taliban has promoted the importance of its training camps in a number of videos that have been released over the past four years.
While the Taliban immediately claimed credit for the brazen attack, the US military, Resolute Support, and US Forces – Afghanistan have yet to acknowledge the Taliban’s culpability.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that “we need to find who’s done this” even after the Taliban claimed the attack. Colonel Dave Butler, the spokesman for USFOR-A, described it as “an Afghan-on-Afghan incident” and never named the Taliban. General Miller praised his “great friend,” General Raziq, but never fingered the Taliban for murdering him.
Update on the Kandahar palace today. This was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident. Three Americans were wounded, have been medically evacuated and are stable.
General Miller is uninjured. We are being told the area is secure. The attacker is dead. Send queries to our press desk.
— USFOR-A Spokesman, Col Dave Butler (@USFOR_A) October 18, 2018
“Today I lost a great friend LTG Raziq. We had served together for many years. Afghanistan lost a patriot, my condolences to the people of Afghanistan. The good he did for Afghanistan and the Afghan people cannotbe undone. ” – Gen. Scott Miller
— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) October 18, 2018
The US military has also refused to recognize that Miller was a target of the attack, even though the Taliban has stated he was.
The military likely is not recognizing Taliban’s responsibility in the Kandahar fiasco as the US government seeks to negotiate a settlement with the Taliban to facilitate withdrawal. This would be difficult to accomplish if the US had to acknowledge that the Taliban tried to kill the top American commander in Afghanistan.