The frontrunner in Afghanistan’s presidential election has narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Kabul after suicide bombers attacked his armoured car, killing three of his bodyguards and three bystanders. Two bombs hit the convoy of Abdullah Abdullah as he was driven through the city from one campaign event to another on Friday. They ripped apart the bullet-proof four-wheel drive, blew the glass out of nearby buildings and left the ground strewn with blood and twisted metal, but Abdullah emerged apparently unscathed.
“We condemn the attack,” he told supporters at the next rally, which went ahead as planned. “If one person is killed it is a tragedy, but today six people lost their lives. Three were bystanders and three were from my team. They were young men, who had worked with me for a long time. The best response to this conspiracy [to kill me] is to go to vote on election day. Nothing can separate our team from the people.”
It was first serious attack on a presidential candidate since campaigning began in February. The Kabul police chief, Mohammad Zahir, said two men, one in a car and another on foot, carried out the attack, which almost entirely sheared off the front of the vehicle.