On Thursday, a major insider attack in Kandahar Province killed most of the top provincial leadership all at once. The Taliban has taken credit for the attack, and said their intended target was US commander Gen. Scott Miller, who managed to survive the attack unharmed.
The bodyguards present at the attack were apparently Taliban infiltrators, and opened fire during the high-profile security meeting. Governor Zalmay Wesa was killed, as was Deputy Governor Agha Lala Dastageri. Provincial police chief Gen.Abdul-Raziq, one of the top police commanders in the country, was also killed, as was a local intelligence commander.
NATO officials said that two Americans were wounded in the attack, although Gen. Miller was not one of them. They also added that the “attacker” was killed, though indications from all other sources are that there were multiple attackers inside the governor’s compound.
This is by far the single biggest attack against high-ranking officials of the war, as while the Taliban has killed provincial officials several times in the past, and police commanders fairly often, never before have they managed to take out a provincial governor, his deputy, and his police chief all in one felled swoop.
Where this leaves the Kandahar Province is anyone’s guess, especially just two days before parliamentary elections. Kandahar is already the homeland of the Taliban and has a substantial presence of them. With a sudden leadership vacuum on the government side, the Taliban’s control seems set to grow further.