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Suicide bomber kills 14 at election rally in Afghanistan

Yesterday, October 2nd 2018, a suicide attack on an election rally in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province left at least 14 killed and wounded 42.

The suicide bombing is the first since campaigning began last week ahead of the elections for the lower house of parliament. The vote is scheduled for October 20th.

The attack took place in Kama district of the province, where supporters of an independent candidate, Abdul Naser Mohmand, had gathered to back his campaign. 

ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing through the Amaq news agency.

In the first half of 2018, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 2,002 civilian casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan, compared to the 1,581 civilian casualties recorded in the same period last year – an increase of 27%.

From January to the end of June 2018, the main cause of civilian casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan continues to be improvised explosive devices (IEDs), responsible for 83% of all civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties from ISIS bombings in particular have seen a considerable increase. AOAV recorded a 345% increase in the number of civilian casualties from IED attacks claimed by ISIS and their affiliates in Afghanistan (136 to 605) in the first half of 2018.

With civilian casualties from IEDs increasing year-on-year in Afghanistan since 2013, 2017 saw a rise of 40% compared to the previous year. And, for the first time in AOAV’s recording, Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by IEDs – a spot claimed by Iraq for the previous six years.

With civilian casualties already set to be higher this year in Afghanistan, the level of IED harm should be of considerable concern.

AOAV calls for states and international organisations to work collaboratively to generate greater awareness of the number of civilians killed and injured each year by IEDs, and encourage a greater stigma from political, religious and social leaders on the use of IEDs. There is an urgent need for preventative measures to be implemented by States and the international community.