CBS News October 19, 2018, 7:45 AM Assassination puts Afghan election on hold for entire province of Kandahar

KABUL, Afghanistan — We're learning more about yesterday's attack in Kandahar, and just how close the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, was as a gunman took out the country's top police chief. The devastating attack has prompted Afghan officials to postpone parliamentary elections set for this weekend in an entire province.

Military sources tell CBS News that Miller had just wrapped up a meeting with local officials about Saturday's national parliamentary elections and was on his way to leave when the gunman opened fire. He was close enough to witness it, which means he was certainly in range. Two Americans were wounded, one service member and a civilian.

The day after a rogue member of the Afghan security forces murdered his own superiors — with Miller nearby — the U.S. general showed on Friday morning that he's not worried about being around armed Afghan forces, visiting a checkpoint in Kabul.

As for slain Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, frankly there were few individuals closer to the top of the Taliban's hit-list, and he had been there for years.

An Aug. 4, 2016 file photo shows Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar police chief, speaking during an interview with The Associated Press in Kandahar, Afghanistan.


He was only 39 years old, but he had a fierce reputation that made him both hated and feared by the Taliban. He survived more than two dozen attempts on his life.

He was an invaluable ally to the U.S. military and intelligence services here. He seemed to manage the impossible; lay down the law and kick the Taliban out of its spiritual homeland of the southern Kandahar province. We've been through Kandahar many times — the last time on our way to spend time with the U.S. Marines in neighboring Helmand province, where we had to fly over Taliban territory.

Raziq had also earned the term "torturer in chief" by human rights groups, for his controversial and questionable tactics in dealing with Taliban prisoners. But they were effective.

It says everything that the government has decided to postpone voting in Kandahar in this Saturday's national parliamentary elections. Even with 54,000 security personnel on duty across the country, considering the events of the past 24 hours, they're likely reviewing the security arrangements to ensure they're not spread too thin.

It is going to be a very challenging weekend here for security forces. But they're still hoping for a high voter turnout.