Journalist killed as Afghan poll campaign season ends
Kandahar: An Afghan journalist wounded by a roadside bomb as he headed home from work has died, officials said Wednesday, as candidates standing in this weekend's presidential election campaigned for the last time.
Abdul Hamid Hotaki, a news presenter for a local radio station in Kandahar, was caught by a blast near a campaign office for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani late Tuesday.
Provincial spokesman Baheer Ahmadi told AFP that Hotaki and seven other civilians were rushed to hospital, but died hours later.
Four people died in the blast — including a child — Afghanistan's interior ministry said, blaming the Taliban for the bombing.
Afghans head to the polls Saturday to decide whether Ghani, who was elected in 2014, should be awarded a second term. As in the past, however, the election has been marred by deadly violence.
Another blast also hit a Ghani campaign office in Lashkar Gah in the southern province of Helmand on Wednesday, wounding at least three people, the local police chief spokesman said.
Neither blast was immediately claimed by the Taliban, though the insurgents have previously warned Afghans not to vote in the election and said their fighters would target election campaigns as well as polling stations.
The first day of campaigning saw the Taliban target Ghani's running-mate Amrullah Saleh in an attack that killed 20 people in July.
Last week another 26 people were killed in the central province of Parwan near Kabul when the Taliban targeted a Ghani rally.
The election season officially ends at midnight Wednesday, before polls open Saturday morning.