Suicide bomber detonates inside govt building in east Afghanistan

Suicide bomber detonates inside govt building in east Afghanistan

Jalalabad: A day after the Taliban killed nearly 50 people and wounded dozens more in two separate attacks, a suicide bomber has detonated inside a government building in eastern Afghanistan.

The war-torn country has seen a spike in violence with elections on the horizon.

While the Taliban took responsibility for yesterday's attack, it is not yet clear who is behind the latest. No group has claimed responsibility yet. It is likely that this too is a Taliban move.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had said in an earlier statement that the rebel-outfit is intent on disrupting the election, scheduled for September 28. Yesterday's attacks took place near a campaign rally for President Ashraf Ghani in the central province of Parwan, and in Kabul.

They have also promised more violence after US President Donald Trump called off talks earlier this month seeking a deal that would have allowed Washington to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the site of America's longest war.

"Security forces are in the area to rescue the staff," said provincial spokesman Ataullah Khogyani.

The elections will see Ghani face off against his own Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah, and more than a dozen other candidates, including former warlords, ex-spies, and onetime members of the country's former communist regime.

For weeks, the election had been sidelined by the US-Taliban talks, with many Afghans and observers expecting the vote to be cancelled if a deal was agreed. Even candidates did little in the way of campaigning. But with the deal off, Ghani and his rivals have begun the race. Ghani is seeking a clear mandate they can use to negotiate with the insurgents on a lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Turnout in the elections is set to be low, with experts citing fear of violence and a loss of hope among voters following widespread fraud allegations during the 2014 election.

A BBC investigation released on Monday claimed that 74 people were killed every day on average in August, with 611 incidents resulting in 2,307 deaths.

(With inputs from agencies)

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