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News > World

'Positive Change' Afghan Candidate Killed in Suicide Attack

  • Preparations leading up to Afghanistan's parliamentary election have been plagued by violence. 

    Preparations leading up to Afghanistan's parliamentary election have been plagued by violence. 

Published 10 October 2018

The local businessman was a first-time candidate who had been campaigning on a "positive change" platform. 

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device inside politician Salem Mohammad Achakzai's office, in the southern province of Helmand in Afghanistan, killing eight people and injuring 11 others.

Taliban, Afghan Gov't Meet To Talk Peaceful October Election

President Ashraf Ghani has blamed the bombing on "terrorists", according to AFP. Helmand provincial governor's spokesman, Omar Zwak, told Anadolu Agency that the attack took place at about 2:30 p.m. local time.

The attack is the second blasts targeting a parliamentary candidate during the campaigns ahead of the October 20 election

Achakzai was a local businessman and first-time candidate who had been campaigning on a "positive change" platform. The death of the 32-year-old pushes the number of candidates killed in targeted attacks to six.

“We learned with sorrow that the terrorist attack that took place at an election rally today in Lashkargah, in the province of Helmand of Afghanistan, resulted in many loss of lives and injuries,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, condemning the “heinous terrorist attack.” The ministry extended condolences to "the friendly Government and the brotherly people of Afghanistan.”

So far, no group has come forward to claim the attack. Helmand is a stronghold for the Taliban group, that has repeatedly issued warnings to Afghans against participating in the polls.

About 2,500 candidates are contesting the election. Some 50,000 Afghan security forces will be dispatched across more than 5,000 polling centers on election day.

Preparations leading up to the parliamentary election - which is a test run for 2019's presidential poll - have been plagued by violence. Additionally, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has expressed concern about the extreme intimidation of and attacks on the candidates and their various supporters.

In July, a suicide attack claimed the life of the Sikh minority's sole candidate Avtar Singh Khalsa, prompting his son to run in his place.

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