Explosion kills at least 22 at Afghanistan election poll

An explosion at an election rally Saturday in Takhar killed at least 22 people and injured dozens of others.

BySusan McFarland

After initial reports of at least 14 killed, Takhar governor spokesman Mohammad Jawad Hijri told TOLO the death toll had risen to 22 people with 36 others wounded at the rally, held for of Nazifa Yousufi Bek, a candidate from Rustaq district of Takhar.
Khalil Aser, Takhar police spokesman, said an explosives-laden motorbike parked near the rally caused the blast. The candidate had not arrived to the rally when the explosion occurred.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) tweeted concerns about elections-related violence in Afghanistan.

“United Nations remains deeply concerned about ongoing elections-related violence in Afghanistan, including today’s Herat and Takhar attacks that initial reports indicate killed & injured scores of civilians at campaign events,” the tweet said.

Also condemning the attack, President Ashraf Ghani, saying ithe enemies of the Afghan people cannot weaken the will of the nation for the success of the democratic process of elections.

U.S. Ambassador to Kabul John Bass condemned the attack on Twitter, calling on the Taliban to punish those responsible.

Afghanistan’s parliamentary election, set for Oct. 20, has 2,565 candidates vying for seats in the 249-member chamber, including 417 female candidates. Saturday’s attack is the third since election rallies began, killing more than 30 people.

BySusan McFarland