Blast in Afghanistan election rally leaves 13 dead

Blast in Afghanistan election rally leaves 13 dead

KABUL: At least 13 people were killed and 30 others injured after an election rally was targeted by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday. 

The attack in Kama district was the first of its kind, targeting an election activity for the country’s parliamentary elections slated for Oct. 20.

More than 2,500 candidates formally launched their election campaign on Sept. 28, defying fear and intimidation. 

Six candidates have already died in a wave of attacks by gunmen in recent months, while election centers have also come under attacks — mostly claimed by Daesh — resulting in the death of scores of people.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the recent attack that took place around midday in Sangar Saray area of Kama disctrict, east of the provincial capital Jalalabad. 

The candidate, Abdul Nasir Mohmand, who was targeted in Tuesday’s attack, was wounded in the explosion while the bomber was killed on the spot. 

Unlike in previous rounds of polls, the Taliban have not openly announced that they would target the election process, which is deemed crucial for Afghanistan’s stability.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar, described the condition of the some of those wounded in Tuesday’s raid as critical. 

While rigging remains the main concern for the parliamentary polls, which are already three years late, rising violence and possible attacks by the Taliban and Daesh are among the key challenges for the voting day with more than 2,000 polling stations out of more than 13,000 already closed owing to the security threat.

Tens of thousands of local troops advised and backed by the US-led forces are set to secure the election day.

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