Tuesday 20 August 2019

Two killed as Afghan VP candidate's office stormed

Afghan security forces keep watch near the site of the blast. Photo: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
Afghan security forces keep watch near the site of the blast. Photo: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Rahim Faiez

The political office of the Afghan president's running mate was hit by a large explosion and stormed by several gunmen who remained holed up inside, Afghan officials said yesterday.

The attack in the capital, Kabul, killed at least two people and came on the first day of campaigning for presidential elections, scheduled for late September.

Vice-presidential candidate and former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh was "evacuated from the building and moved to a safe location", said Nasrat Rahimi, the interior ministry spokesman.

He said at least two gunmen could still be trapped in the top floor of the four-storey building, exchanging fire with security forces.

Three attackers had been killed so far, he said, and some 75 people rescued from inside.

President Ashraf Ghani also tweeted that Mr Saleh was unharmed during the "complex attack" targeting the Green Trend party HQ.

At least two people, including a woman, were killed and 25 wounded, according to a health ministry spokesman.

Ferdous Faramarz, the spokesman for Kabul's police chief, said the explosion was likely a suicide car bomb. The blast was large enough to be heard throughout the capital.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both Taliban insurgents and Isil are active in the capital and have carried out attacks there in the past.

Mr Ghani is seeking a second term on promises of ending the 18-year war.

Earlier yesterday, a Taliban suicide bomber killed four officers in an attack on a police station in the eastern Ghazni province, according to police.

Irish Independent

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