JALALABAD: A suicide bomb attack in a city in eastern Afghanistan where President Ashraf Ghani was visiting killed at least 19 people, including the only Sikh candidate in upcoming legislative elections, officials said on Sunday.
The attacker struck a market located hundreds of metres from the provincial governor’s compound where Ghani was holding meetings, governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.
Of the 19 killed, 17 were Sikhs and Hindus, provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal told AFP. Another 20 people were wounded in the attack.
Avtar Singh, the only Sikh candidate running in the October 20 parliamentary and district council elections, was among the dead, an Indian embassy official said. In a statement the embassy condemned the “cowardly terrorist” attack.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.
There were scenes of anguish at the hospital where grieving relatives wept and hugged each other as they waited for news of their loved ones.
The attack came a day after Ghani ordered Afghan security forces to resume offensive operations against the Taliban following the expiry of the government’s 18-day ceasefire.