A powerful explosion hit central Kabul on Sunday, wounding Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s running mate in the upcoming election and killing at least two others, officials said.
At least 25 civilians were injured in the blast that occurred on a road near the private Ghalib University and Shahid Square, a four-way intersection, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.
Rahimi said that immediately after the blast, gunmen had entered the university building and were targeting the main political office of the vice presidential candidate, Amrullah Saleh. Saleh was wounded by shrapnel before being safely evacuated from the office of his Afghan Green Trend Party.
The party office is located adjacent to the university.
Photographs shared by a government official showed Saleh sitting in a garden with blood stains on his right arm. He was surrounded by security guards.
Saleh is an uncompromising opponent of the Taliban and other hardline Islamist groups.
Ghani, Saleh and over a dozen other Afghan politicians launched their presidential campaign on Sunday.
Ghani said in a tweet: “My brother, true son of the Afghan soil and first VP candidate of my electoral team, Amrullah Saleh has survived a complex attack by enemies of the state. We are relieved and thank the almighty that the attack has failed.”
Saleh, who commands strong support among Afghanistan’s minority ethnic Tajiks, was not immediately available for comment.
“The explosion hit a very busy part of the city. Our rescue teams have been rushed to the site,” Rahimi said.
No militant group has claimed responsibility.
Last week, Kabul was hit by three consecutive bomb blasts claimed by Islamic State and the Taliban, killing 11 people and injuring more than 40.