Deadly violence marred the start of Afghanistan's election season over the weekend, after President Ashraf Ghani insisted "peace is coming" to the war-torn nation. At least 20 people were killed and 50 others wounded on Sunday in an attack targeting the Kabul office of Ghani's running mate, Amrullah Saleh. The violence came on the first day of campaigning for the upcoming presidential elections, serving as a grim reminder of Afghanistan's woeful security situation and the sort of mayhem and murder that have beset previous polls.
Turkey has condemned Sunday's deadly suicide attack. "We received the news with sorrow that a terror attack which took place at an election campaign office in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, resulted in the loss of at least 20 lives and left many others wounded, including a vice-presidential candidate," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday. It went on to say that Turkey hopes Afghanistan's presidential campaign and election this September will take place in a safe and peaceful environment.
Already delayed twice this year, the elections are likely to prove a severe organizational and security test for Ghani's government, which came to power in 2014 following a bitterly fought campaign and a poll marred by accusations of widespread fraud. Sunday's attack added to an anxious mood in Kabul, where there is concern over chaotic election preparations and uncertainty about the future of U.S. military support for the Afghan government.