suicide bombers killed at least 48 people and wounded dozens more in two blasts Tuesday – one at a campaign rally for the president and the other in Kabul – with the insurgents warning of more violence ahead of elections.
In the first attack, a motorcyclist detonated a suicide bomb at a checkpoint leading to a rally where President was addressing supporters in central Parwan province, just north of the capital, killing 26 and wounding 42.
Just over an hour later, another blast rocked central Kabul near the US embassy. Authorities said 22 people were killed and a further 38 wounded.
The explosions came after earlier this month over a deal that would have allowed the US to begin withdrawing troops from its longest war.
In a statement sent to media claiming responsibility for both blasts, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack near Ghani’s rally was deliberately aimed at disrupting elections scheduled for 28 September. “We already warned people not to attend election rallies, if they suffer any losses that is their own responsibility,” the statement said.
Ghani, who was speaking to his supporters at the time of the explosion, was unhurt but later condemned the attack, saying the incident proved the Taliban had no real interest in reconciliation. “As the Taliban continue their crimes, they once again prove that they are not interested in peace and stability in ,” Ghani said.
In Kabul, 60km (40 miles) away, shopkeeper Rahimullah said he had been sitting inside his shop in the capital at the time of the secondexplosion. “The wave broke all the windows,” he told AFP. “I rushed outside and saw several bodies just across the street. This is the second time in less than a month that a blast has broken our windows. I just fixed them a week ago.”
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The UN’s mission in Afghanistan accused the Taliban of showing “despicable disregard for civilian life and fundamental human right to participate in democratic process”.
In the elections, Ghani will face off against his chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, and more than a dozen other candidates, including men who have been warlords,spies or members of the country’s former communist regime.
For weeks, the election have been sidelined by the US-Taliban talks, with many Afghans and observers expecting the vote to be cancelled if a deal was agreed. Candidates have done little in the way of campaigning. But , Ghani and his rivals have begun the race.
Ghani is seeking a clear mandate to negotiate with the insurgents on a lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Trump’s declaration that spurred the insurgents to declare last week that the only other option was more fighting.