The death of a parliamentary candidate from Parwan province on Sunday night in Kabul, in an IED explosion, has raised concerns among Independent Election Commission (IEC) members over the safety of candidates.
The candidate, Anwar Niazi, was killed and two others wounded when a magnetic IED was detonated against the vehicle they were traveling in.
The incident took place in Kabul city center, in Shirpoor, in PD10, at about 7pm local time.
“We were in the shop when a strong explosion happened here and we saw that one of the injured people was immediately taken to hospital,” said Ghawsuddin, an eyewitness.
“It was a powerful explosion,” Mohammad Nasim, another eyewitness said.
There have been a number of candidates killed around the country in the past few months but no official source has released details on the exact number of candidates targeted.
About 10 days ago Jalal Salehi, a candidate from Kabul, was killed during a security forces operation in Kabul’s Shakar Dara district.
Another candidate, former member of Ghazni provincial council, Sayed Obaidullah Sadat, was killed in Ghazni on July 14 by unknown armed men.
On July 1, the Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leader, Ottar Singh Khalsa, who was running for parliamentary elections, was killed in a suicide attack in Jalalabad city in Nangarhar province.
On July 30, another Nangarhar candidate, Hayatullah Khan Rahmani, was killed when a suicide bomber targeted him in Rodat district in the province.
Election commission officials meanwhile said they are worried about attacks against candidates and that they have discussed their concerns with security departments.
“In the next one or two days we will issue a statement and will seriously ask government to do its job in maintaining security,” IEC secretary Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi said.
The Ministry of Interior has not commented on how it plans to safeguard election candidates but a number of institutions overseeing the election process said relevant departments need to ensure the security of candidates.
“We have asked security departments (to maintain security) many times, but they have not delivered any proper plans around maintaining security of the people during elections,” Habibullah Shinwari, a member of Election Watch Afghanistan said.
Parliamentary elections is scheduled for October 20.