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News Wrap: Taliban kills influential Afghan police chief

In our news wrap Thursday, the Taliban conducted what Afghan and U.S. officials described as one of the most significant assassinations of the war. Kandahar's police chief Abdul Raziq was killed by bodyguards of the regional governor. Also, White House counsel Don McGahn has left his post after 21 months on the job.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced he's pulling out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban conducted what Afghan and U.S. officials told "PBS NewsHour" was one of the most significant assassinations of the war. It happened in the Southern District of Kandahar.

    Abdul Raziq, Kandahar's police chief and one of the most influential men in Southern Afghanistan, was killed by bodyguards of Kandahar's governor, who was also killed in the attack. Afghan and U.S. officials describe Raziq as essential to keeping Kandahar secure and fear some instability ahead of Saturday's parliamentary elections.

    But the U.N. also accused Raziq of human rights abuses. The attack just missed the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army General Scott Mueller, but wounded an American soldier, contractor and civilian.

    Back in this country, White House counsel Don McGahn has left his post after 21 months on the job. McGahn was a major figure behind the Trump administration's efforts to confirm conservative judges and eliminate government regulations. He's also a key witness to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. McGahn will be temporarily replaced by President Trump's legal adviser, Emmet Flood, until his permanent successor, Pat Cipollone, takes over.

    Florida officials now say Hurricane Michael killed at least 20 people there, raising the storm's overall death toll across four states to at least two 30. More than 137,000 homes and businesses in Florida and Georgia are still without power more than a week after Michael made landfall.

    The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation into child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. Federal prosecutors subpoenaed diocese throughout the state last week. That follows the Pennsylvania state grand jury report from the summer which identified 301 predator priests who molested more than 1,000 children for decades.

    The former head of USA Gymnastics was arrested last night for removing evidence related to the sexual abuse case of Dr. Larry Nassar. Steve Penny was indicted for taking documents from the Texas Karolyi Ranch training facility that would have helped in the investigation. Nassar, the gymnastics team doctor, was sentence last February to up to 125 years in prison for sexually assaulting more than 150 girls and women.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May said she's open to extending the transition period for Britain's exit from the European Union by a few months, that as Brexit talks have stalled over questions about the border between E.U. member Ireland and British Northern Ireland. May wrapped up a two day summit with E.U. leaders in Brussels today that was one thought to be a deal deadline.

    Still, she remained optimistic.

  • Theresa May:

    These were always going to be tough negotiations and they were always going to get tougher before we got to the closing stages of the negotiations.

    On the withdrawal agreement, there are a few but considerable outstanding issues in relation to the Northern Irish backstop. I'm committed to working with the commission and E.U. leaders to resolve these as quickly as possible.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The U.K. is scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29.

    Military relations between the U.S. and China appear to be on more solid ground today. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis met with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of a regional summit in Singapore. They discussed the disputed South China Sea, but didn't reach any new agreement.

    The meeting comes amid a tense trade war between the two countries.

    Israel's Supreme Court today overturned a deportation order for a detained American graduate student; 22-year-old Lara Alqasem had been denied entry to Israel after arriving with a valid student visa more than two weeks ago. Israel's government had accused her of supporting an illegal boycott against the country. Alqasem will now be able to study and stay in Israel.

    And it was another volatile day of trading on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 327 points to close at 25379. The Nasdaq feel 157 points and the S&P 500 slipped 40.

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