Election commission workers prepare ballot boxes and election materials for the presidential election scheduled for Sept 28, at the Independent Election Commission compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country's security forces are ready for polling day. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

The Latest: Taliban claim attacks on Ghani rally, in Kabul

September 17, 2019 - 6:32 am

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

The Taliban have claimed a deadly attack in northern Afghanistan that targeted President Ashraf Ghani's campaign rally, killing 24 people, and another attack, a Kabul explosion near the U.S. Embassy.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, says one suicide bomber targeted presidential guards who were protecting Ghani and the rally in northern Parwan province along with other members of the security forces.

Ghani was unhurt in the attack and it wasn't immediately known if any of his guards were hurt in the explosion in Parwan on Tuesday.

Mujahid claims the suicide bomber in Kabul targeted an Afghan army base. Afghan officials have not yet provided details on that attack.


2:40 p.m.

Iran's foreign ministry says a delegation of the Taliban has visited Tehran to discuss prospects for peace in Afghanistan.

The semi-official Borna news agency on Tuesday quoted the ministry's spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, as saying the delegation discussed "the latest" developments with the Iranian side.

It did not elaborate. On Monday, Taliban spokesman in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, said the delegation is in Iran. In December, Iran confirmed a rare visit of a similar delegation to Tehran.

The talks were not the first between the Taliban and Iranian officials. In 2018, Iran said such talks had taken place in the past and that it would continue to facilitate talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government as part of efforts to bring a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 18-year war.


1:05 p.m.

An Afghan official says there has been an explosion in the capital, Kabul, near an army base and also near the U.S. Embassy.

Firdaus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, says the blast took place on Tuesday, close to the city's Massoud Square. He couldn't provide any other details and there was no immediate word on any casualties.

The explosion came shortly after a bombing targeted a campaign rally by President Ashraf Ghani in northern Parwan province, killing at least 24 people and injuring another 31, many of them women and children.

The violence comes as Afghanistan faces presidential elections on Sept. 28. The Taliban have warned that polling stations and election campaigns would be targeted.


12:55 p.m.

A hospital director in northern Afghanistan says a bombing that targeted a campaign rally of President Ashraf Ghani killed 24 people. The president was at the scene but was unharmed in the blast and is safe.

Dr. Qasim Sangin at the Charakar hospital in northern Parwan province says another 31 people were wounded in the attack. He says there are women and children among those killed and wounded.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes as the country heads into presidential elections later this month despite relentless violence plaguing Afghanistan.

The Taliban have warned Afghans not to vote and said they would target polling stations and election campaigns.


12:45 p.m.

Afghan officials say a sticky bomb attached to a police vehicle went off near a campaign rally by President Ashraf Ghani in the country's northern Parwan province.

There was no immediate word of casualties in the explosion.

The president's campaign spokesman Hamed Aziz says that Ghani was there but that he is safe and unharmed. Aziz said he would provide more details later.

Wahida Shahkar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor in Parwan, says the explosion happened while the rally was underway on Tuesday, at the entrance to the venue.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Across Afghanistan, militant attacks have continued as the country prepares for presidential elections later this month.

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