Afghan officials on Thursday said two top Kandahar province officials were killed by their own guards at a meeting, AP reported. Two United States military personnel sustained injuries during the incident.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack at the security meeting. The militant group’s spokesperson Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said US General Scott Miller, commander of the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, was the target of the incident.

NATO officials said Miller was safe. President Ashraf Ghani is expected to address the nation following the attack.

The deceased have been identified as provincial police chief Abdul Razik and Kandahar intelligence chief Abdul Mohmin, Kandahar’s Deputy Provincial Governor Agha Lala Dastageri said. There are contradictory reports about province governor Zalmay Wesa’s condition, Reuters reported.

The Taliban has been perpetrating several attacks in the run up to the parliamentary elections. The militant group has called for a boycott of the elections. “People who are trying to help in holding this process successfully by providing security should be targeted and no stone should be left unturned for the prevention and failure [of the election],” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had said earlier.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office condemned the attack. “Deeply shocked and saddened by the dastardly terrorist attack in Kandahar,” the prime minister’s office tweeted. “India condemns it most strongly and mourns with our Afghan brethren the loss of life, including that of Kandahar’s senior leadership. We stand in solidarity with the brave people of Afghanistan in fighting terrorism imposed on them.”

Election-related attacks

On Wednesday, an election candidate was among four persons killed in a bomb explosion at his office in Afghanistan’s Helmand. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last week, 12 people were killed and 32 injured in a bomb blast during an election campaign rally in Takhar province.

On October 2, a suicide bomb explosion at an election campaign rally in Nangarhar killed 13 people and injured 30. The explosion took place in Kama district where a candidate, Nasir Mohmand, had gathered people to explain his electoral plans.