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Suicide attack in Jalalabad claims at least seven lives

Suicide bomber blew himself up at a camp of protesters rallying in support of a disqualified candidate.

A suicide blast outside an election commission office in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad has killed at least seven people and wounded several others, sources said.

The target of Saturday's attack appeared to be a protest camp in Nangarhar province, where a group of people were rallying in support of a candidate disqualified from parliamentary elections due to take place in October.


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Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the blast happened when supporters of the disqualified candidate were trying to shut down the election commission office.

"We had requested the protesters to stop their demonstrations because they could be targeted by fighters but they rejected our security message," said Khogyani.

August has already been a bloody month in Afghanistan with the Taliban increasing attacks on security forces across the country and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group targeting the capital Kabul, with hundreds killed according to estimates.

A witness told AFP news agency that the blast was caused by a suicide bomber detonating near a tent full of protesters and that security forces had cordoned off the area.

"It was a huge blast and it shook our home," said Mirza Amin, who added he lived 50 metres from the site of the blast. Earlier this month, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an Afghan election office in Kabul when protesters gathered to challenge the commission's decision to disqualify 35 candidates.

The blast comes nearly a week after President Ashraf Ghani offered a conditional three-month ceasefire to the Taliban, a move welcomed by the United States and NATO after nearly 17 years of war.


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