Top US general 'uninjured' in Kandahar attack that killed Afghan general

Violence has escalated in Afghanistan as the country prepares for parliamentary elections

The province's governor, its police chief and its intelligence chief were all killed in the attack Thursday inside the governor's compound in Kandahar.

A Taliban spokesman said the attack was carried out by the group and that its target was Miller and top Kandahar provincial officials. He said Kandahar Gov. Zalmay Wesa also died after being taken to a hospital, although security officials in the capital maintained Wesa was wounded but survived.

Dastageri said provincial intelligence chief Abdul Mohmin also died inside the governor's sprawling residence where the attack occurred.

"It's going to have a significant impact on the whole security balance in southern Afghanistan, but particularly Kandahar", said Mushtaq Rahim, an independent political analyst based in Kabul.

Late Wednesday, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation convoy was attacked near the Afghan capital, killing two civilians and injuring five Czech troops, Afghan officials and the Czech military said Thursday. Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan, was present but uninjured in the attack, a statement from United States forces said.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack on a high-level security meeting in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, which killed three high-profile officials.

The U.N. Security Council has condemned several recent attacks in Afghanistan ahead of Saturday's parliamentary elections.

The officials had reportedly met to discuss Saturday's parliamentary elections that are due to be held countrywide.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation convoy was attacked near the Afghan capital Kabul, killing two civilians and injuring five Czech troops.

A senior security official said the governor's bodyguard opened fire and hit Razeq in the back as soon as officials came out of the meeting.

More than 50,000 members of Afghanistan's already overstretched security forces are being deployed to protect polling centres on election day.

"Afghanistan lost a patriot", he said on social network Twitter.

"We need to find who's done this", Mattis told reporters traveling with him in the southeast Asian city-state of Singapore.

"When the Taliban are determined to kill me, my soldiers and my people, I cannot be gentle on them, and I can never forgive them", he said.

Poll-related violence has increased ahead of the long-delayed vote, with hundreds of people killed or wounded in attacks across the country.

Raziq narrowly escaped an attack past year in which five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates were killed in Kandahar.

It was unclear if the attack would affect the process, following a meeting last week of Taliban officials and the USA special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, but complicates an already hard situation.

Jabar Qahraman, an election candidate in the southern province in Afghanistan, was killed in his campaign office on Wednesday after explosives kept under his sofa blew up.

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