KABUL (Pajhwok): Leading presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah survived an assassination attempt on Friday when his convoy came under attack from a car suicide bomber and a roadside bomb blast, leaving six people dead and nearly two dozens injured.
Abdullah, who was returning from a campaign rally he addressed at a hotel west of Kabul, was unhurt despite his car was severely damaged by the blast.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said at least six people were killed and more than 22 others injured at the hotel in the Mirwais Khan locality, where the rally was being held.
The first explosion was caused by a suicide bomber and the second by a roadside bomb. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings.
Soon after the attack, Abdullah told another campaign gathering at the Pearl Continental Hotel that he escaped unhurt from the assassination attempt that left some of his bodyguards mildly injured.
He said the blast took place in front of his and Zalmai Rassoul’s vehicles, but none of his campaign team members got hurt.
The explosions occurred at around 12:09pm near on the Silo Road close to Ariana Hotel, officials said. But eyewitnesses said both were suicide attacks.
An eyewitness wishing not to be named said a number of people were killed and wounded in the explosions.
A Pajhwok Reporter at the scene confirmed Abdullah’s convoy was the target of the blasts that damaged a number of vehicles.
The reporter saw a dead body lying at the scene. Police cordoned off the area soon after the incident, he added.
Muhammad Ishaq, an eyewitness, told Pajhwok Afghan News the blasts occurred soon after Abdullah’s motorcade left the Ariana Hotel.
The attack came days ahead of a runoff presidential election between Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
The election commission announced that a runoff was necessary because neither candidate secured enough votes to be declared victor. Abdullah garnered 45 percent of the votes and Ghani 31.6 percent.
“A few minutes ago, when we left a campaign rally our convoy was hit by a mine,” Abdullah told the election rally at the Pearl Continental Hotel.
His main challenger Ghani tweeted: “We condemn the attack on respected presidential candidate Dr Abdullah Abdullah.” “This is the act of the enemies of Afghanistan to disrupt the democratic process in the country.”
President Karzai also condemned the attack on Abdullah, calling it the handiwork of Afghanistan’s enemies who wanted to prevent the Afghans from electing their future president.