At least 13 people were killed and another 25 wounded in a suicide bombing during an election rally in the eastern Afghanistan province Nangarhar on Tuesday.
The rally was held for the candidate Abdul Nasir Mohmmand in the Kama district outside the provincial capital of Jalalabad. According to Shoran Qaderi, a member of the provincial council stated that approximately 250 people were attending at the time of the bombing.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also know as ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack and pledged to disrupt the parliamentary elections due on October 20.
In response to these attacks the Afghanistan government has deployed 54,000 members of the security force to protect more than 5,000 polling stations on election day. However, 2,000 that were supposed to be open will be closed due to security concerns.
Reuters describes these elections as “both a dry run for the more important presidential election next year, and a test of the government’s ability to provide security”. This current election has more than 2500 candidates on the ballot. Thus far, five candidates have been killed in attacks.
Al Jazeera further reports that preparations for the election have been problematic with, “bureaucratic inefficiency, allegations of fraud and an eleventh-hour pledge for biometric verification of voters threaten to derail the election and any hope of a credible result”.
The elections come before a ministerial meeting in Geneva in November, where Afghan ministers are expected to demonstrate progress within the region to the government's international partners. The United Nations has described the upcoming meeting as a “crucial moment”.