KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s election commission on Friday postponed elections in Kandahar for a week, following a brazen attack on a high-profile security meeting there with a U.S. delegation that killed at least two senior provincial officials, including the province’s police chief.
The development came as mourners gathered for the funeral of police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, assassinated in Thursday’s attack. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the assault, saying they targeted the top U.S. commander in the country, Gen. Scott Miller, who was at the meeting but was unharmed.
The Independent Election Commission’s deputy spokesman, Aziz Ibrahimi, says the decision on the postponement was made to allow mourners to observe funeral rites for the slain police chief, Abdul Raziq, and others killed in the attack.
Along with Raziq, the province’s intelligence chief and two policemen were killed. The condition of Kandahar’s governor, Zalmay Wesa, who was wounded in the attack, was shrouded in secrecy. Security officials in the capital, Kabul, maintained Wesa was wounded but survived.
Raziq’s funeral was being held Friday in Kandahar’s holiest of shrines, Kherqa Mubarak, said to contain the cloak of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
Pakistan’s two official border crossings with Afghanistan have closed for two days at the request of the government in Kabul, worried about the security situation. Pakistani foreign ministry statement says the crossings would be closed on Friday and on Saturday “for all kinds of traffic except emergency cases.”
One of the crossings is at Chaman, in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan’s Kandahar province where the powerful provincial chief was assassinated in an audacious attack claimed by the Taliban. The other crossing is at Torkham, in northwestern Pakistan.
Afghanistan and the United States have routinely accused Pakistan of harboring Taliban insurgents, a charge Islamabad denies. Following Thursday’s attack some Afghan officials railed against Pakistan, accusing its military and intelligence of inciting Afghans to carry out violent attacks against government officials. Islamabad had immediately condemned the Kandahar attack.