Taliban claims deadly strike near rally for Afghan President Ghani | News | DW | 17.09.2019

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Taliban claims deadly strike near rally for Afghan President Ghani

President Ghani was unharmed, officials say. At least 24 people were killed in the blast that has been claimed by the Taliban.

Two blasts rocked Afghanistan on Tuesday, one near a campaign rally for President Ashraf Ghani in Parwan province and another in the capital Kabul. President Ghani was reported to be safe, but at least 30 people were killed in the attacks.

Afghan news outlet TOLO tweeted footage of the campaign event before the blast:

Local media and officials later said that at least 24 people were killed and 31 injured in the Parwan explosion near Ghani's rally.

"Women and children are among them, and most of the victims seem to be the civilians. Ambulances are still operating, and the number of casualties may rise," said Abdul Qasim Sangin, head of the provincial hospital.

Officials in Parwan said they believed a suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle into a police vehicle outside the venue where Ghani was speaking on the outskirts of the city of Charakar.

Taliban claims responsibility

There were also reports of a second blast in Kabul on Tuesday, which was near both an army base and the US embassy. At least 22 people were killed and 40 wounded in this separate attack.

Taliban officials later claimed both attacks, as part of an uptick in violence across Afghanistan in the run-up to the country's elections on September 28. A spokesman said the bombs were targeting security services.

The Taliban, in particular, have vowed to disrupt election campaigning, shortly after peace talks abruptly broke down between the extremist group and the US government. Taliban leaders promised more violence after US President Donald Trump withdrew from negotiations a day after a Taliban attack killed a US soldier.

Pakistan, where the Taliban also operates, quickly condemned the attack and offered its condolences to the Afghan people.

es/stb (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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