Blast kills 21 civilians in Afghanistan


The attack, which took place on Wednesday but was not reported until Thursday morning, was part of rising violence in the final stages of campaigning for the August 20 election in which incumbent Hamid Karzai is favoured to win a new term. General Sher Mohammad Zazai, commander of an Afghan military unit in Helmand province, said the explosion occurred in Garmsir, part of the province where US Marines launched the biggest operation of the war last month against Taliban militants.

“It is the work of the enemy of peace and the work of the Taliban,” Zazai said. The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the poll and called on Afghans to boycott it. Attacks on presidential running mates and candidates’ convoys were reported across the country last week.

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