The Taliban claimed credit for an attack at a high level meeting in Kandahar that killed General Raziq, the province’s chief of police and arguably the most powerful man in southern Afghanistan, as well as the head of the province’s National Directorate of Security. General Austin Miller, the commander of Resolute Support, was present but was not wounded. The assassination of Raziq is a major blow to the Afghan government and may significantly impact the security situation in Kandahar and throughout the south.
Three US personnel were also wounded, Resolute Support confirmed in a tweet which described the event as an “Afghan-on-Afghan incident,” meaning that Raziq was the target of the attack.
At Kandahar palace today: Afghan-on-Afghan incident, as initial reports indicate. 3 Americans wounded. Gen. Miller uninjured, attacker reportedly dead.
— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) October 18, 2018
Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousef Ahmadi said that an “infiltrator” identified as “abu Dujana” opened fire at a meeting at the governor’s compound in Kandahar City.
#AlKhandaq#Breaking: Infiltrator (abu Dujana) opened fire inside governor house during meeting b/w commander Abdul Razziq & Gen. Miller; Abdul Razziq along with multiple high ranking officials killed, many wounded – Ahmadi //t.co/83avqIj3cj
— Zabihullah (ذبیح الله م ) (@Zabihullah_4) October 18, 2018
In an official statement released on Voice of Jihad (reproduced in full, below), the Taliban said that the “main targets of the attack were American commander Miller and infamous commander general Abdul Raziq.”
The Taliban also claimed that Zalmi Waisa, the governor of Kandahar, Abdul Momin, the province’s chief of the National Directorate of Security, and “several others officials including invaders” were killed. The Afghan press confirmed the NDS chief was indeed killed, and the governor was wounded in the shootout.
The attack is perhaps the most brazen in Afghanistan since the US invaded the country after the September 11th attack in 2001. The Taliban were able to infiltrate a meeting attended by General Miller, the top NATO and US commander in Afghanistan.
Miller, who recently took command in Afghanistan, was, as Thomas Joscelyn notes, unwilling or unable to call the Taliban an enemy of the United States during his confirmation hearing.
During his confirmation hearing, Lt. Gen. Miller struggled to answer a question about whether the Taliban was America’s enemy — he seemed to imply it was really just the Afghan government’s enemy. Have to wonder if today’s attack changes his view at all.//t.co/mSL1fM45ln
— Thomas Joscelyn (@thomasjoscelyn) October 18, 2018
The death of Raziq may have major implications on the security situation in southern Afghanistan. Raziq has been the US military’s top ally in the south. During the surge from 2009 to 2012, Raziq was instrumental in mustering his fighters to clear the Taliban from strongholds in Kandahar, as well as in neighboring provinces of Uruzgan and Helmand. As the chief of police in Kandahar, he has kept a lid on the Taliban’s insurgency, which has intensified over the past several years. Raziq hoarded power in the province, and it is unclear if one of his deputies can effectively replace him.
The Taliban has targeted Raziq numerous times in the past in suicide and other attacks. He was targeted because of his influence in Kandahar and throughout the south.
The Taliban hope to destabilize Kandahar as it did Uruzgan after the assassinations of Jan Mohammad Khan, the former governor of the province, in 2011, and his nephew, Matiullah Khan, the provincial chief of police, in 2015. Like Raziq, the Khans stockpiled power. Once the Khans were killed by the Taliban, Uruzgan became one of the most dangerous provinces in the country.
Taliban statement on the attack in Kandahar:
Amid the series of ongoing Al Khandaq crushing operations, Mujahideen carried out attacks on a high profile meeting inside Kandahar governor hours afternoon hours today.
Details say, main targets of the attack were American commander Miller and infamous commander general Abdul Raziq the police chief of the said province.
Details say, Kandahar police chief – Abdul Raziq -, Kandahar governor – Zalmi Waisa -, NDS provincial chief – Abdul Momin – along with several others officials including invaders have been killed.
This comes just a day after the killing of another key American puppet and election candidate – Abdul Qahar Jabbar – in Helmand province’s capital.