On Thursday, October 18, Afghan guards assigned to the provincial governor's security detail opened fire on Afghan and NATO officials shortly after a security meeting at the governor's compound in southwestern Kandahar city (Kandahar province). According to local sources, Afghan police chief Lieutenant General Abdul Raziq Achakzai, as well as a Kandahar National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief, were killed in the attack. In addition, multiple other people were wounded, including the governor of Kandahar, three Americans, one Afghan officer, and one journalist. Reports indicate that the commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, General Austin Scott Miller, had been present at the meeting prior to the incident. The Taliban have issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack.
The Taliban and Islamic State (IS) have vowed to disrupt the electoral process. On October 8, the Taliban released a statement contesting the legitimacy of the elections and denouncing the continued presence of "foreign occupiers." They called on their supporters to boycott the elections and to undermine the electoral process by perpetrating attacks against security personnel and infrastructure in the lead-up to the elections.
The parliamentary elections were initially scheduled to be held over three years ago but have been repeatedly delayed due to ongoing security concerns. The presidential election is currently scheduled to take place on April 20, 2019.
Kandahar (Kandahar province) is the former capital of the Taliban government.
Individuals in Kandahar province are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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