Officials from Takhar province confirmed Saturday evening that the death toll at an election rally explosion in Rustaq district of the province on Saturday afternoon has risen to 22 and 36 wounded.
Earlier reports said at least 12 people were killed and 32 others wounded, but Takhar governor spokesman Mohammad Jawad Hijri told TOLOnews that the death toll has risen to 22.
A motorcycle bomb was detonated just before 2pm local time targeting the campaign rally of Nazifa Beg, a candidate from Rustaq district of Takhar.
Takhar police said moments after the explosion at least 12 people were killed, and 32 others wounded, but now local officials say the death toll is up to 22.
According to the provincial police, two security force members are also among those killed in the explosion.
In the meantime, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said they are concerned about elections-related violence in Afghanistan.
“United Nations remains deeply concerned about ongoing elections-related violence in Afghanistan, including today’s Herat and Takhar attacks that initial reports indicate killed & injured scores of civilians at campaign events,” UNAMA tweeted.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in a statement, saying that the enemies of Afghans cannot weaken the will of the nation for the success of the democratic process of elections.
US Ambassador to Kabul John Bass also condemned the attack and called on the Taliban to do the same. He said if the group is serious about the peace process it will do the same and punish those responsible.
This is the third attack against the election campaign process this month. The parliamentary elections are scheduled for next Saturday.
The latest attack comes after an attack at a campaign office in Helmand province on Tuesday which claimed the lives of eight people including the election candidate, Saleh Mohammad Achakzai.
On October 3, an explosion targeted an election rally in Nangarhar, killing 14 people killed.
At least eight candidates have been killed in insurgent attacks since the beginning of July, soon after the candidate registration process was finalized.
On September 25, Nasir Mubarez, a candidate for the Kochis, from Kandahar, was killed by unknown armed men in a shooting in Kandahar City’s PD2.
On September 2, Anwar Niazi, a Parwan candidate, was killed and two others wounded when a magnetic IED was detonated against the vehicle they were traveling in. The incident took place in Kabul city center, in Shirpoor, in PD10, at about 7pm local time.
In August, Jalal Salehi, a candidate from Kabul, was killed during a security forces operation in Kabul’s Shakar Dara district.
Another candidate, former member of Ghazni provincial council, Sayed Obaidullah Sadat, was killed in Ghazni on July 14 by unknown armed men.
On July 1, the Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leader, Ottar Singh Khalsa, who was running for parliamentary elections, was killed in a suicide attack in Jalalabad city in Nangarhar province.
And on July 30, another Nangarhar candidate, Hayatullah Khan Rahmani, was killed when a suicide bomber targeted him in Rodat district in the province.
More than 2,500 candidates are running for 249 parliamentary seats in the October 20 elections.