Afghan election candidate latest casualty in string of assassinations

Afghan election candidate latest casualty in string of Taliban assassinations
2 min read
17 October, 2018
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Jabar Qahraman, and has previously called the upcoming polls a 'vast American conspiracy'.
Afghan security clears wreckage of bomb at polling centre [Getty]

An Afghan election candidate was killed on Wednesday when a bomb placed under a sofa detonated, marking the latest deadly escalation ahead of 20 October parliamentary elections.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Jabar Qahraman, who was running for the southern province of Helmand, a stronghold for the militant group.

Another seven were wounded in the blast, provincial governor spokesman Omar Zhwak told AFP.

Qahraman "was meeting his supporters in his election campaign office" when the bomb detonated, Zhwak said.

"We have arrested several people in connection with the blast," he added.

The latest attack takes the number of election candidates killed to at least 10, the majority of them murdered in targeted killings.

Poll-related violence has increased ahead of the long-delayed vote, with hundreds of people killed or wounded in attacks across the country.

An unprecedented ceasefire in June followed by talks between US officials and Taliban representatives in Qatar in July fuelled hopes of calm to the war-torn country.

But the ceasefire proved shortlived and the Taliban has called the polls a "malicious American conspiracy" and said they would pull no punches to disrupt the long-delayed ballot scheduled for 20 October.

This year has already proved to be the deadliest in Afghanistan's 17-year-war. Suicide bombs caused 2,343 civilian casualties so far, more than any other tactic, including ground fighting, according to a recent UN report. 

Meanwhile, the UN warned on Monday that the worst drought in Afghanistan's living memory could cause three million Afghans to face famine if they do not get "urgent" aid.

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