Taliban kill 24 at Afghan president's rally; Ghani unhurt
Taliban kill 24 at Afghan president's rally; Ghani unhurt
18 September, 2019, 22:00
The president was at the scene but was unharmed in the blast and is safe.
Attackers detonated explosives outside the building, used for the distribution of electronic identity cards, in the city of Jalalabad in eastern Nangarhar province, said the provincial governor's spokesman and a provincial council member.
"As the Taliban continue their crimes, they once again prove that they are not interested in peace and stability in Afghanistan", Ghani said in a statement. In that explosion, 26 people were killed, according to Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
In a separate incident, a man on foot blew himself up in the centre of the capital Kabul, sending ambulances and Afghan forces rushing to the blast site.
Tehran then armed factions that helped US -led forces overthrow the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The visit by Taliban delegation to Moscow and Tehran apparently took place after the U.S. President Donald Trump called off peace talks with Taliban in the wake of a series of deadly attacks.
The insurgent group has warned Afghans not to vote in the election, and said their fighters would target election campaigns as well as polling stations.
Firdaus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said there was no immediate information about any casualties in the Kabul blast, which took place near Massood Square, a deeply congested intersection in the center of Kabul.
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Kabul often accuses Pakistan of backing the Taliban, who have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan in recent months. They have refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government until a United States deal is agreed.
One of the bombings targeted an election rally where Ashraf Ghani was campaigning for re-election.
There were many women and children among the casualties in the bombing near Ghani's rally, said Dr. Qasim Sangin, a local official.
Trump's tweets at the beginning of September declaring the deal and the talks were "dead" launched the war-battered nation on an election campaign.
"From our side, our doors are open for negotiations", he was quoted as saying.
The Taliban - who are now in control of more territory than at any point before the 2001 US-led invasion - do not recognise the legitimacy of President Ashraf Ghani's administration.
Trump had said the United States was walking away from negotiations after almost a year of grinding diplomatic efforts to strike a deal that could pave the way for an American withdrawal from Afghanistan following 18 years of war.
"We already warned people not to attend election rallies, if they suffer any losses that is their own responsibility", the statement said.
"It was a major failure of the deal that Khalilzad could not convince the Taliban to enter into direct negotiation with the Afghan government", the Afghan official said. President Ghani had been due to speak ahead of elections later this month.
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