Afghan president’s running mate wounded by bomb attack

Afghan bomb attack Amrullah Saleh
28 Jul, 2019 11:14 pm

KABUL (AFP) – A bomb has targeted the Kabul office of President Ashraf Ghani’s running mate Amrullah Saleh – wounding the vice presidential candidate on the first day of campaigning for Afghanistan’s September 28 presidential election.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said two people were killed and several civilians were injured by the blast on a road near the private Ghalib University.

Mr Saleh was lightly wounded by shrapnel and then evacuated from the office by his bodyguards. Photographs shared on social media showed him surrounded by bodyguards and with a small injury to his right arm.

Ghani said: “My brother, true son of the Afghan soil and first vice president candidate of my electoral team, Amrullah Saleh, has survived a complex attack by enemies of the state. We are relieved and thank the almighty that attack has failed.”

Saleh has been a vociferous opponent of the Taliban and Pakistan, and led Afghanistan’s NDS intelligence agency before joining politics with the Green Trend movement.

“At around 4:40 pm (1210 GMT), first a blast occurred near Green Trend office… then a number of attackers entered that office,” interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP.

Several civilians were killed in the attack near a busy intersection in the capital.

Photographs shared on Twitter by Rahmatullah Nabil, a former Afghan intelligence chief who also is a candidate for the presidency, and Tamim Asey, a former Afghan deputy defense minister, show Saleh sitting in a garden with blood stains on his right arm. He was surrounded by security guards.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came just hours after Ghani marked the official start of Afghanistan’s two-month presidential election campaign by insisting that “peace is coming” and that negotiations with the Taliban “will take place.”

Ghani made the remarks at a rally in Kabul on July 28. He is facing 17 other candidates and hopes to secure a second term by winning the delayed presidential election.

Earlier on July 28, the Taliban rejected a statement from a senior Afghan minister who said he hopes direct talks would begin within two weeks between the militant group and the government in Kabul.

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