KABUL: Two people died and at least 25 were injured on Sunday in a terrorist attack in Kabul on the first day of campaigning in the presidential election.
Among those injured was Amrullah Saleh, leader of the Afghan Green Trend Party and election running mate of President Ashraf Ghani.
“My brother, true son of the Afghan soil and first vice presidential candidate of my electoral team, Amrullah Saleh has survived a complex attack by enemies of the state. We are relieved and thank the almighty that the attack has failed,” Ghani said.
The attack began with a bomb blast on a road near the private Ghalib University in central Kabul. Gunmen then stormed a nearby building belonging to Saleh’s Party. He was injured by shrapnel before being taken to safety.
Afghan soldiers killed one gunman but two others battled security forces in a four-story building near the site of the explosion, from where 40 civilians were rescued.
Saleh, Afghanistan’s intelligence chief before he became a politician, is a fierce opponent of the Taliban and other hard-line Islamist groups. He led the National Directorate of Security until 2010.
No group admitted Sunday’s attack, but the Taliban oppose the election, and have attacked polling sites and warned civilians against taking part in elections funded by Western powers.
Eleven people were killed and more than 40 injured in three consecutive bomb blasts in Kabul last week, admitted by Daesh and the Taliban.