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At Least 13 Dead, Dozens Injured In Apparent Suicide Attack At Afghan Campaign Rally


Afghan soldiers secure the hospital after injured victims of the suicide bomb attack at an election campaign in Kama district are brought to a hospital in Jalalabad on October 2.

Officials say at least 13 people are dead and dozens more injured in a suspected suicide attack carried out at an election-campaign rally in eastern Afghanistan.

Najibullah Kamawal, head of Nangarhar's Health Department, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that 13 people are confirmed to have died in the October 2 attack, while at least 40 others are reported injured.

Attaullah Khoyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar Province, said the attacker targeted a campaign rally held by Nasir Momand, a parliamentary candidate in the Kama district.

"Most of the people killed or wounded are elders who had gathered for the campaign rally," Khogyani said.

Momand is running as an independent candidate in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for October 20.

It is unclear whether voting will be held in areas controlled by Taliban militants.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack in Nangarhar Province, where both the Taliban and fighters with the Afghan affiliate of the extremist group Islamic State (IS) are active.

Campaigning began on September 28 for the elections, in which 2,565 candidates are vying for seats in the 249-member lower house of parliament.

Five candidates were killed in separate attacks before the campaigning officially started, two in Kabul and one each in Nangarhar, southern Kandahar, and northern Parwan province.

Two candidates have been abducted and their fates remain unknown, while three others have been wounded in attacks, according to electoral officials.

Security forces killed three bodyguards of an independent candidate during a raid on a house near his home in the eastern Kunar province on September 30.

The elections are only for the lower parliament house. The upper chamber consists of a mixture of lawmakers chosen from local councils and those appointed by president Ashraf Ghani, as well as members elected in district ballots.

With reporting by AP

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