KABUL: A Taleban suicide bomber blew himself up at the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul Wednesday, killing six police officers just three days before the country’s presidential election, which the insurgents have vowed to disrupt.
The attack came as the three leading candidates to succeed President Hamid Karzai made a final push for votes with rallies on the last day of campaigning.
Kabul has been rocked by a string of high-profile attacks in the run-up to Saturday’s election, which will be the first democratic handover of power in Afghanistan’s turbulent history.
“The suicide attacker wearing a military uniform detonated himself near the gate of the ministry killing six policemen,” Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.
He said that the blast occurred in an annex to the ministry, which is one of the most closely-guarded buildings in the Afghan capital.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the pre-election attack and urged Afghans to defy the Taleban and head to the polls.
“My message to the women and men of Afghanistan is clear: Go to the polls,” Rasmussen said, wrapping up a two-day NATO foreign ministers’ meeting at alliance headquarters in Brussels.
“Only you have the right to decide your country’s future,” he said.
Rasmussen condemned the attack, but welcomed “that the Afghan people have resisted these intimidation attempts.”
“We wish you a successful election and we wish the Afghan Security Forces every success, as they protect their countrymen and women on this important day,” he said.