News ID: 232708
Published: 0255 GMT October 13, 2018

14 killed in bombing at Afghan election rally

14 killed in bombing at Afghan election rally

A motorcycle rigged with explosives detonated at an election rally in northeastern Afghanistan on Saturday killing at least 14 people, including civilians and security forces, officials said.

Khalil Aser, spokesman for the provincial police chief in Takhar Province, said 32 others were wounded when the explosives-laden motorbike parked near the rally in Rustaq district blew up, AP reported.

"There are a number of wounded people in critical condition," he said.

The attack took place at about noon before Nazefa Yusoufi Beg, a female candidate running for a seat in Parliament in the Oct. 20 elections, arrived at the rally, Aser said. It was not immediately clear if she was the target.

Jawad Hajri, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Rustaq is a remote district where insurgent attacks have not occurred in the past and the candidate's supporters had gathered for the rally confident they would be safe.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Taliban militants are active in the province and have claimed pervious attacks there.

Meanwhile, in a separate attack Saturday that targeted the office of a candidate in western Herat province, at least two people including a security guard and a child were killed, said Gelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor.

He said one other person was wounded after two gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire at the campaign office of parliamentary candidate Sayed Azem Kabrzani in the Injil district.

These were not the first attacks targeting a political campaign this year.

On Tuesday, eight people including candidate Saleh Mohammad Achekzai, were killed when a suicide bomber struck Achekzai's home in Helmand Province. He was holding a meeting at the time of the attack in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital.

On Oct. 2, just days after official campaigning began, a suicide bomber struck an election rally in eastern Nangarhar Province, killing at least 14 people and wounding around 40.

Last week, Taliban militants issued a statement condemning the elections and warning candidates and Afghan security forces that they would be targets if they participate. The Taliban called the polls a US-manipulated event to further their hold on the country.

There are 2,565 candidates vying for seats in the 249-member chamber, including 417 women candidates.

In the run-up to campaigning, five candidates have been killed in separate attacks. Officials from the country's Independent Election Commission said another two candidates have been abducted, with their fates unknown, and three others have been wounded in violence.




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