At least 24 people were killed and 31 others were injured after a sticky bomb went off near a campaign rally of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday in the country’s northern Parwan province. Afghan officials said that the bomb was attached to a police vehicle. Hamed Aziz, the campaign spokesperson of President Ghani, said that the President was there but is safe and unharmed.
According to the spokesperson of the provincial governor in Parwan, Wahida Shahkar, the explosion happened at the entrance to the venue while the rally was underway. As Afghanistan prepares for presidential elections later this month, militant attacks continue across the country. While the culprits are yet to be identified and no one has taken the responsibility of the attack, Aziz said that he would provide more details later.
The Taliban has been at the forefront of such militant attacks in Afghanistan but a peace process through a negotiating team is also underway. Days after US President Donald Trump cancelled meeting with Taliban leaders which was scheduled at Camp David, a negotiating team from the Taliban had arrived in Russia on Friday. The leadership council, or shura, had also opposed its negotiators going to Camp David.
The Taliban leaders wanted a deal with the United States and the negotiators were at odds with their Council of Leaders about whether to travel to Camp David. As per the Taliban officials familiar with the discussions, the shura opposed the trip to Camp David and chastised the negotiators who were eager to attend. The Taliban have been holding talks with the U.S. for over a year in the Qatari capital, Doha, where the militant Islamic movement maintains a political office under the banner of The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Doha office, told the Taliban Al-Emarah website that U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had invited Taliban negotiators to Camp David in late August.
(With inputs from AP)