Dozens killed and injured following suicide blast at Afghan presidential rally

Dozens killed and injured following suicide blast at Afghan presidential rally
Afghanistan's upcoming election is only the second ever democratic transition of power in the country, and security agencies have been preparing for expected violence.
2 min read
17 September, 2019
Ghani is seeking another five year mandate in Afghanistan's upcoming election. [Getty]
At least 24 people have been killed and a further 32 injured in a suicide blast outside a campaign rally being held by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Charikar, Parwan province. Ghani himself is safe and unharmed, AFP reported.

No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack in the town that sits some 65km north of Kabul.

"The toll includes women and children," Parwan hospital director Dr. Abdul Qasim Sangin told AFP. A spokesperson for the interior ministry Nasrat Rahimi said the attacker had been on a motorcycle, and detonated the bomb at the first checkpoint leading to the rally.

Read also: US service member killed in action in Afghanistan

The blast comes as Afghanistan gears up for presidential elections that commence on the 28th September, only its second ever democratic transfer of power in the war-torn country. The elections have already been postponed twice this year, having been initially slated for April. 

Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani is seeking another 5-year term and is the favourite to retain power.  

The details of this attack emerged as a second blast rocked central Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, with the interior ministry stating that more details would become available later.

Kabul has seen several attacks over the last several weeks. A potential peace deal between the Taliban and the US was scrapped as talks between the two parties crumbled earlier this month.

Seventeen US servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan this year, and explosive rhetoric from both sides promise further violence, which could disrupt presidential elections.