Police officers intercepted a suicide bomber near a protest outside the Independent Election Commission (IEC) compound on Jalalabad Road in Kabul on Monday, August 13. The attacker detonated the device, killing one officer and wounding another. According to initial reports, the bomber may have been targeting a group of protesters who had gathered outside of the IEC office. Dozens of people rallied at the office in support of 35 candidates the IEC barred from the upcoming parliamentary elections. The barred candidates have announced they will hold additional protests if their names are not included on the final candidate list. Further associated demonstrations and attacks targeting political events are possible in Kabul in the coming weeks.
No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing as of August 13.
The IEC listed the names of the barred candidates on August 11, which includes 12 sitting members of parliament. According to the IEC, the candidates have alleged ties to armed groups. Another 45 candidates were also warned that they may be disqualified. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on October 20.
Individuals in Kabul are advised to remain vigilant and avoid all political demonstrations as a precaution.
As a reminder, Western governments advise their citizens against all but essential travel to Afghanistan. Individuals traveling in Afghanistan, including Kabul, are advised to seek professional security advice, to continually reassess their personal security, to maintain contact and report movements, and to stay away from protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings.