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Taliban tries to kill new Afghan intelligence chief

KABUL — A Taliban suicide bomber tried to assassinate the influential new chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence service at an agency guesthouse in Kabul on Thursday, officials said, in a brazen attack that left him seriously wounded and underscored the insurgency’s ability to go after those at the highest levels of the government.

The attack — against Asadullah Khalid, who had just taken over the National Directorate of Security in September — sidelined a man who had emerged as one of the insurgency’s fiercest opponents.

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In his short time at the reins, Khalid had stepped up clandestine operations against the Taliban’s middle- and upper-level leadership, according to Afghan and coalition officials.

He has also put his agency at the forefront of Afghan and Western efforts to clamp down on the killings of coalition troops by Afghan soldiers and police.

The National Directorate of Security said in a statement that Khalid had survived a ‘‘cowardly terrorist attack.’’ It offered no details, but his wounds appeared substantial.

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