An election candidate was among eight killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan yesterday, officials said, days ahead of a parliamentary vote that militants have vowed to disrupt.
Another 11 people were wounded when the attacker blew himself up inside Saleh Mohammad Asikzai's campaign office in the southern city of Lashkar Gah, Helmand provincial governor spokesman Omar Zhwak told AFP. Helmand has long been a stronghold for the Taliban, which was toppled from power in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001. It is not clear how many people were inside the room at the time of the blast, which comes a day after the Taliban warned candidates to pull out of the "bogus" election scheduled for Oct. 20.
Describing the polls as a "malicious American conspiracy" and urging voters to boycott them, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants would pull no punches to disrupt the ballot.
It was the second suicide attack to target a parliamentary candidate since campaigning officially kicked off on September 28. An attack on a rally in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Oct. 2 killed 13 people and wounded more than 40.
Violence had been expected to escalate ahead of the poll, which more than 2,500 candidates are contesting. Yesterday's attack takes the number of candidates murdered in targeted killings to at least six.
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