Afghan Spy Chief Wounded in Assassination Bid

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Afghanistan's intelligence chief was wounded in an assassination attempt in Kabul on Thursday, officials said.

Asadullah Khalid, head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), was injured in a grenade attack in a guesthouse, police and a senior government official told Agence France Presse.

Khalid had been rushed to hospital and given blood transfusions, officials said.

His condition was not immediately clear, but one Western diplomat told AFP that Khalid was "seriously wounded".

President Hamid Karzai nominated Khalid to head the NDS in August, despite strong criticism from Western human rights groups, and was later endorsed by parliament.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Taliban insurgents waging a war to topple the government will be suspected of being behind the assassination attempt.

Khalid is fiercely anti-Taliban and close to the Karzai family. His appointment was interpreted as part of an effort by the president to secure his power base before anointing a successor to stand for election in 2014.

Amnesty International had urged parliament to delay its approval of Khalid, asking lawmakers to investigate claims of his "involvement in numerous alleged acts of torture and other grave human rights violations".

The London-based rights group said he has been linked to numerous cases of torture and unlawful killings over the past decade, while serving as governor of Ghazni province from 2001-05 and of Kandahar from 2005-08.

It also said there were credible allegations that Khalid was involved in the bombing of a vehicle that killed five U.N. workers in Kandahar in April 2007.

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