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Deadly Bombing Rocks Afghan Election Rally


Afghan Security personnel inspect the site of a suicide attack in the Kama district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 2, 2018.

A suicide bomb blast has ripped through an election-related gathering in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 14 people and wounding 42 others.

The deadly blast in Kama district in Nangarhar province went off inside the campaign office of a candidate for the October 20 parliamentary elections. The fate of the candidate, identified as Nasir Mohmand, was not known immediately.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it killed 35 people and wounded 55 others.

Provincial government spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, told VOA the casualties were expected to rise.

The Taliban has denounced the elections, though IS has taken responsibility for most of the recent bombings and other attacks against civilians in Nangarhar.

Afghans are set to head to the polls October 20 to cast ballots in elections for the lower house of parliament, or Wolesi Jirga, and district councils amid prevailing security concerns. The polls are being held after a delay of more than three years.

“I am outraged by attacks deliberately targeting civilians seeking to exercise their basic right to participate in elections,” said UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto. “This violence, including today’s reprehensible attack in Nangarhar, is an assault on the constitutional rights of the people of Afghanistan,” he added.

Tuesday's violence comes as an Afghan watchdog has blamed counterinsurgency air-and-ground operations by pro-government forces for causing most of the 262 civilian deaths across the country in September.

Another 524 people were wounded in war-related violence and women as well as children were among the 785 casualties, according to the non-governmental Civilian Protection Advocacy Group (CPAG).

Separately, officials told VOA on Tuesday that the Afghan military during a counter-Taliban operations mistakenly bombed one of its own bases in the southern Helmand province. The incident in the Nad Ali district killed six Afghan soldiers and wounded eight others.

The provincial police said an investigation was underway into the deadly attack.