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Top US General in Afghanistan narrowly avoids assassination by Taliban in NATO meeting ambush; 2 Americans shot, other top Afghan officials killed

Maj. Gen. Austin Scott Miller, Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general, delivers remarks during the Master Sgt. Jared Van Aalst Boulevard road dedication ceremony at Martin Army Community Hospital, 17 Apr. (Sgt. 1st Class Michael R. Noggle/U.S. Army)
October 18, 2018

The Taliban was behind a deadly shooting took place in Kandahar, Afghanistan during a NATO meeting on Thursday, and a Taliban spokesperson told the Associated Press that the intended target was U.S. Gen. Scott Miller.

Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the group was responsible for the attack, which was intended to target General Miller, Commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.

“Actually we planned this attack to kill [the] U.S. military commander and his team members,” Ahmadi told NBC News.

Miller had just concluded a meeting with Gen. Abdul Razeq, Commander of Police in Kandahar, before the shots rang out. Razeq was shot in the back and killed, but Miller escaped without injury.

Officials were conducting a high-level security meeting at the compound of the Kandahar governor ahead of parliamentary elections on Saturday.

Said Jan Khakrezwal, the head of the Kandahar provincial council, said, “Provincial officials including the governor, the police chief and other officials were accompanying the foreign guests to the plane when the gunshots happened.”

Afghan officials confirmed to the Associated Press that a total of three local officials were killed in the attack.

In addition to Razeq, Governor of Kandahar Zalmay Wesa was killed, along with local intelligence chief Abdul Mohmin.

Col. Dave Butler, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan three Americans were wounded in the incident.

“Update on the Kandahar palace today. This was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident. Three Americans were wounded, have been medically evacuated and are stable. General Miller is uninjured. We are being told the area is secure. The attacker is dead. Send queries to our press desk,” he said.

Initial reports said two U.S. citizens were also injured in the attack — a least one of them is said to be a military member, while the other may be a civilian.

U.S. Col. Knut Peters, spokesman for NATO troops in Afghanistan, confirmed that the two wounded U.S. troops had been evacuated for medical treatment, according to The Washington Post.

A statement by NATO Resolute Support mission said, “At Kandahar palace today: Afghan-on-Afghan incident, as initial reports indicate. 2 Americans wounded. Gen. Miller uninjured, attacker reportedly dead.”

Peters also said the shooter, an Afghan soldier, has been killed. Reports indicate that the shooter was a member of the governor’s personal security detail.

This story has been updated with the most up-to-date information and current events available.