Tuesday 20 March 2018

Eight killed in suicide bomb attack in Afghan capital

Afghan National Army soldiers (ANA) stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul
Afghan National Army soldiers (ANA) stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul

Eight military personnel were killed and another 13 wounded when a suicide bomber attacked an air force bus in Afghanistan's capital today.

Army general Kadamshah Shahim said the bomber was stopped before he could enter the bus, probably limiting the number of casualties.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, confirming that the air force bus was the target.

The attack came as the country struggles through its first democratic transition of power, with one of the candidates in last month's presidential run-off alleging fraud. Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister and one of two candidates vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai, has warned he will boycott the results of the June 14 vote.

Mr Abdullah, who won the first round on April 5 by a wide margin, said supporters of his opponent, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, stuffed ballot boxes and tried to rig the vote.

According to the official timetable, initial results are due today and final results are due on July 22, with the inauguration date for the new president scheduled for August 2.

Both candidates have promised to sign a security pact with the United States that would allow nearly 10,000 American forces to remain in the country in a training capacity and to conduct counter-terrorism operations after most foreign troops withdraw by the end of the year.

But a disruption in the announcement of election results could mean another delay in finalising that agreement, which was rebuffed by Mr Karzai.

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