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Deadly Suicide Bombing Strikes Kabul

Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has blown himself up outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul, killing at least six police officers.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack which occurred on April 2, the last day of campaigning for Afghanistan's April 5 nationwide elections.

The Interior Ministry said the suicide bomber was wearing a military uniform when he detonated his explosives at the main gate to the heavily fortified Interior Ministry compound.

The Taliban has vowed to disrupt the upcoming presidential and provincial council elections.
Election Blog: After Karzai

Earlier on April 2, an Afghan official said Taliban gunmen killed nine people, including a candidate running for a seat in the provincial council, who had been abducted in the northern Sar-e Pol Province.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings or killings.

In related news, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned that the Taliban will likely try to cause problems duirng the presidential election in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on April 2, Rasmussen encouraged Afghans to cast ballots despite possible violence, saying that by voting they could have a voice in the future of the country.

Rasmussen described Taliban militants as opposed to democracy and anything that might challenge their hard-line Islamic views.

He also pointed out that Afghan forces are mostly responsible for security during the elections, with most Western forces preparing to withdraw from the country by the end of this year.

The presidential election will choose a replacement for outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who has been in power in Kabul for more than a decade.
With reporting by Reuters and AFP