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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Associated Press