Sofa bomb kills 10th candidate

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A bomb placed under a sofa killed four Afghans including an election candidate on Wednesday, officials said, as deadly violence escalates ahead of the October 20 parliamentary ballot.

Two top officials in southern Afghanistan, including powerful police commander General Abdul Raziq, have been killed in a shooting incident during a visit of the top US general in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said Miller and General Abdul Raziq - the police chief of Kandahar province who had a fierce reputation for brutality - were the targets of the shooting.

Raziq and two others, including the provincial intelligence chief and a journalist, were killed in the attack.

Niyaz Mohammad Amirii (R), governor of Logar province, chats with U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller, commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force Afghanistan, following a shura in the governor's office on March 26, 2014, in Pul-e Alam, Afghanistan. Their conditions were not immediately known. Unconfirmed reports from local officials suggest that Gen Miller appeared to have been saved by his body armour.

Raziq is often characterized as a USA -backed warlord in Afghanistan.

"This was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident", he said, suggesting it was an insider attack in which Afghan personnel turn their guns on local partners. He had no further information.

Raziq, who had survived dozens of attempts on his life, was widely considered to be an indispensable security chief with influence across critical areas of southern Afghanistan, in the Taliban heartland.

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In a tweet on Thursday, hours after escaping unhurt from the same attack that killed Raziq, General Scott Miller expressed his condolences over the death of his "great friend".

Pashtun said an Afghan military corps commander was also among the dead, although he didn't name him. The fire was opened by at least one of the governor's bodyguards. Seen as a close US ally and a fervent enemy of the Taliban, Raziq was also deeply controversial.

In January past year, the visiting ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, five other UAE diplomats and some local officials were killed by explosives hidden in a government building in Kandahar. Mattis said it's unclear how the attack will affect voter turnout in Saturday's parliamentary elections.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack. But he said he believes the Afghan security forces have matured to the point where they can continue fighting the Taliban without him.

General Razeq was criticised by human rights groups but highly respected by United States officers who saw him as one of Afghanistan's most effective leaders, largely responsible for keeping Kandahar province under control.

Wahida Shakar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor, says three Afghan civilians were also wounded.

Of the five Czech soldiers, one was seriously injured when their vehicle overturned following the explosion.

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