IED explosion at Afghan president’s rally kills 24

At least 24 people were killed in Afghanistan in a Taliban-claimed bomb attack on a campaign rally by President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday, local media reported.

“An explosion occurred midday as President Ghani began speaking at a campaign rally in the city of Charikar, in the Parwan province,” 69 kilometers north of the capital Kabul, said Kabul-based Tolo news.

At least 30 others were injured, said the report.

On Twitter, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

Wahida Shahkar, spokesman for the provincial governor, said “the blast was caused by an IED [improvised explosive device] in a security vehicle.”

Nasrat Rahimi, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the blast was caused by a suicide attacker on a motorcycle at around 11.40 local time (0710GMT).

The event went ahead despite the attack, he said on Twitter.

Ghani reportedly escaped the blast unharmed.

A separate suicide blast today occurred near the U.S. Embassy around 1 p.m. (0830GMT) in central Kabul, Tolo later reported.

“Officials at the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the explosion near Massoud Square was caused by a suicide attacker and that it detonated close to one of the Ministry of Defense’s buildings in Police District 9 (PD9) in the city of Kabul,” Tolo said.

There are no reports of casualties, or a claim of responsibility, from the second blast.

Afghanistan is set to go for presidential elections on Sept. 28.