At Least 13 Dead, Dozens Injured In Apparent Suicide Attack At Afghan Campaign
Officials say at least 13 people are dead and dozens more injured in a suicide attack carried out at an election-campaign rally in eastern Afghanistan.
Najibullah Kamawal, head of Nangarhar province’s health department, told RFE/RL that 13 people were confirmed to have died in the October 2 attack, while at least 40 others are reported injured.
The extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the bombing via its Amaq news agency.
Both the Taliban and fighters with the Afghan affiliate of the IS group are active in the province.
Attaullah Khoyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said the attacker targeted a campaign rally held by Nasir Momand, a parliamentary candidate in the Kama district.
“Most of the people killed or wounded are elders who had gathered for the campaign rally,” Khoyani said.
Momand is running as an independent candidate in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for October 20.
It is unclear whether voting will be held in areas controlled by militants.
Campaigning began on September 28 for the elections, in which 2,565 candidates are vying for seats in the 249-member lower house of parliament.
Five candidates were killed in separate attacks before the campaigning officially started, two in Kabul and one each in Nangarhar, southern Kandahar, and northern Parwan province.
Two candidates have been abducted and their fates remain unknown, while three others have been wounded in attacks, according to electoral officials.
Security forces killed three bodyguards of an independent candidate during a raid on a house near his home in the eastern Kunar province on September 30.
The elections are only for the lower parliament house. The upper chamber consists of a mixture of lawmakers chosen from local councils and those appointed by president Ashraf Ghani, as well as members elected in district ballots.