Kabul suicide attack latest in Afghan pre-election violence
A suicide attack in Kabul killed at least seven people including the bomber Wednesday, three days out from Afghanistan’s presidential election.
Local officials said a bomber, clad in a military uniform, was attempting to enter the Interior Ministry compound when he detonated his devices, killing at least six policemen. The Taliban claimed responsibility moments later.
The attack is part of a wave of Taliban-led violence in advance of Afghanistan’s April 5 presidential election, including attacks on campaign workers and election officials, and an assault on a Kabul hotel that left nine people, including four foreigners and two children, dead.
On Tuesday a candidate for the provincial council and nine of his supporters were abducted and killed in Northern Afghanistan, CNN reports.
Saturday’s elections are seen as particularly important to US-Afghan relations at a time of increasing tensions between the two countries. Although the White House does not endorse candidates, President Obama has made clear his hope that the next Afghan leader will sign a Bilateral Security Agreement, BSA, allowing U.S. forces to remain in the country after 2014, something President Hamid Karzai has expressly refused to do.
“If there is … a refusal to engage in negotiations, you could see political support disappear in the U.S. and other countries,” said former senior Pentagon official Michele Flournoy. “That would put whatever government emerges in a crisis situation.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban has decried the election as “fake,” warning in a statement that, until Saturday, “Every official and every voting center will be in danger and a surge of attacks will start all over the country.”