An explosion during an election rally in Afghanistan leaves at least 12 dead and dozens injured

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KABUL (Reuters) – At least 12 people were killed and more than 30 injured in an explosion during an election demonstration of a woman who is a candidate for parliamentary elections in Afghanistan on 20 October. The authorities have reported this today.

PHOTOS OF THE ARCHIVE: Scene of a suicide attack in Kabul, 9 September 2018.REUTERS / Omar Sobhani

Khalil Asir, a police spokesman in the northeastern province of Takhar, said the explosives were placed on a motorcycle near the Nazifa Yousufi Bek rally.

"So far we have received a report of 12 dead and 32 injured, victims include security and public officials," Asir said.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Dozens of people gathered to listen to the candidate, but the police said he was not at the rally at the time of the explosion.

Bek is one of 417 women who aspire to obtain seats across the country, the highest figure in history, despite the suicide attacks in rallies and electoral offices, which apparently aim to push voters to boycott the scheduled vote for October 20th.

Candidates are challenging violence and the opposition of conservatives in a campaign that has been seen as evidence of the strength of democratic institutions in a war-torn country.

So far, five candidates have been killed, all men, in different attacks. Two others were kidnapped and four others were injured by intransigent Islamic militants, electoral officials said.

Takhar, a province bordering Tajikistan, has traditionally been the focus of the Taliban. The Taliban called on Afghans to boycott the elections.

Information from Sardar Razmal and Abdul Qadir Sediqi; translated by Tomás Cobos in the editorial office of Madrid

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