UPDATE – Blast at campaign rally kills 22 in Afghanistan

UPDATES DEATH TOLL; EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Sayed Khodaberdi Sadat

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – Just days before national parliamentary polls, at least 22 people were killed and more than 30 wounded in a blast at a campaign rally in northern Afghanistan, officials confirmed on Saturday.

Mohammad Jawad Hejri, spokesman for the northern Takhar province's governor, said that the attack happened during a rally of Nazifa Yousufi Bek, a female candidate.

Hejri stated the dead included three police officers and one intelligence officer and that 36 were injured.

Hejri said explosives hidden in a motorcycle caused the blast and that some of the injured were badly hurt.

The candidate was not harmed and there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The Taliban have warned Afghans against taking part in the Oct. 20 polls. Four days ago, another candidate and eight of his supporters were killed in a suicide attack in the southern Helmand province.

Last week, 13 people were killed and more than 20 wounded in a similar attack in the Nangarhar province. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed concern about the level of violence during the campaign.

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