Afghan officials say the country's intelligence chief is in surgery after being wounded in an assassination attempt in Kabul.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Asadullah Khalid was wounded in what it called a “terrorist attack” Thursday, when a suicide bomber struck a guest house in the capital.
NDS spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiri said the attacker was carrying a peace message on behalf of the Taliban when he detonated his explosives inside the guest house used by the intelligence agency.
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Khalid was their target and that a number of other Afghan intelligence officials were also wounded in the bombing.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Khalid in the hospital and said that doctors told him Khalid was in good condition. The president told reporters the Afghan intelligence chief may be sent abroad for treatment.
An NDS official and close friend of Khalid's who did not want to be identified told VOA's Afghan Service that the intelligence chief has severe injuries on the right side of his body, particularly in the abdomen, leg and hand, but that he has good chances of survival.
Khalid, who is close to the Karzai family, took over the intelligence agency in September after the president reshuffled his Cabinet. Since taking over, Khalid has led an aggressive campaign against the Taliban.
Prior to becoming intelligence chief, Khalid served as Afghanistan's minister of tribal and border affairs and as a provincial governor. Human rights groups have accused Khalid of involvement in acts of torture and other abuses while he was governor of Kandahar province. He has denied any wrongdoing.