Afghan polls delayed in Kandahar after police chief’s killing

Afghan polls delayed in Kandahar after police chief’s killing
Preparations for the vote in Kandahar, the Taliban’s birthplace, were thrown into turmoil on Thursday when a gunman wearing a security forces uniform opened fire on a gathering of US and Afghan officials. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2018

Afghan polls delayed in Kandahar after police chief’s killing

Afghan polls delayed in Kandahar after police chief’s killing
  • Government deploys troops in the province to ensure security
  • Elections have faced several delays due to a power struggle within the government

KABUL – Afghanistan’s government on Friday said it was postponing the parliamentary elections and deploying troops in the Kandahar province to quell any attempts at unrest, after two top commanders were killed by the Taliban a day earlier, officials said. 
In a statement released early on Friday, the presidential palace said that the decision to delay the polls on Saturday were made “at the request of the people of Kandahar” and in keeping with the suggestion by the government-appointed election commission. The elections have experienced several delays in the past three years because of an ongoing power struggle within the government.
The move follows an attack on Thursday where the bodyguard of Kandahar’s governor killed the province’s police chief, General Abdul Raziq, and the head of intelligence as the two were walking with US’ top military commander for Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, after a security meeting.
The event has created a military and political vacuum in Kandahar — the birthplace of the Taliban — and is seen as a major blow for the shaky central government. The militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, which saw General Miller escaping unhurt, while two US soldiers, a foreign contractor, Kandahar’s governor, Zalmai Weesa, the province’s army chief and another top police commander were wounded in the incident.
The Taliban said that the assailant was the group’s supporter, adding that they had intended to target General Miller and General Raziq — a top anti-Taliban commander.