Afghan bomber targets vice president hopeful

Mohammad Ismail Khan, a running mate of warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, survives attempted assassination in Herat City.

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    Afghan bomber targets vice president hopeful
    Mohammad Ismail Khan (right), pictured with current president Hamid Karzai [AFP]

    A suicide bomber has attempted to assassinate a vice presidential candidate in western Afghanistan.

    The Friday attack was said to have targeted Mohammad Ismail Khan, a vice presidential candidate for Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and former water and energy minister. 

    Ismail Khan was in a car leaving a mosque after Friday prayers in the heart of Herat City when the bomber, said to be in his seventies, detonated his explosives.

    Local police and the ministry of interior report no casualties or injuries other than the bomber himself.

    No group has said it carried out the attempt on Ismail Khan's life.

    Friday's attack comes after the Independent Election Commission announced the final stages of efforts to recruit monitors for the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections. The Taliban, Afghanistan's largest armed opposition group, has released several statements discrediting the ballots vowing to attack them. 

    Ismail Khan and Sayyaf, both former rebel commanders during the fight against Soviet occupation and later the civil war, have been labeled warlords by segments of Afghan society. Human rights groups have accused both men of rights abuses.

    Sayyaf, said to be a primary link between Arab fighters — including Osama bin Laden and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed - and the Afghan mujhaideen is considered to be one of the leading candidates for the presidency.

    The April 5 polls will mark the first time that Hamid Karzai, the incumbent, will not stand for elections after more than 13 years in power. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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