KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform killed the top police official in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar province, infiltrating his heavily defended headquarters and blowing himself up beside the police chief's car, government spokesmen said.
Khan Mohammad Mujahid, one of Afghanistan's most prominent law enforcement officials, was killed outside of his office Friday, said his deputy, Shair Shah Yusefzai. Two other police officers were killed and three were wounded, he said.
The attack was a hard blow for Afghanistan's fledgling security forces. Mujahid, who assumed his post in Kandahar this year and had survived at least three previous assassination attempts, was perceived as one of Afghanistan's most capable and experienced security chiefs. A native of Kandahar, he was a friend of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a veteran of Afghanistan's insurgency against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi took responsibility for the attack.
Mujahid was leaving his office for an appointment when the attacker leaned in close and detonated a bomb vest, according to police Officer Nimatullah Nazak. The bomber was wearing a police uniform, said Ministry of Interior spokesman Zemeri Bashary.
Recruits released: The Taliban released the remainder of 40 local police recruits it kidnapped at gunpoint last month in Kunar province. About half of the men were freed shortly after their capture.
Soldier killed: A NATO soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan, according to a statement from a NATO spokesman. No further information was released.