Blast targets Afghan candidate, 17 wounded

A bomb exploded inside a mosque, wounding a candidate of parliamentary polls.

Updated: Jul 24, 2010, 15:38 PM IST

Kabul: A bomb exploded inside a mosque in eastern Afghanistan, seriously wounding a candidate of upcoming Parliamentary Elections and 16 other people, Mubariz Zadran, spokesman for the provincial governor, said on Saturday.

The candidate, Mawlvi Saydullah, was making a speech inside the mosque yesterday in Mando Zayi district when the blast went off, shattering windows. His bodyguard and at least 15 other civilians were also hurt.

"He was the target," Zadran said, referring to Saydullah. Afghanistan will hold national parliamentary elections in September, despite fears of a surge in Taliban attacks and fighting with international forces could undermine security for the vote.

Meanwhile, military and government officials said yesterday several Taliban figures, including a former spokesman for the insurgents, were captured in raids by coalition and Afghan forces across the country.

Abdul Hay Motmaen, a spokesman for the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan, was among those arrested in operations on Thursday night in two villages in Andar district of the eastern province of Ghazni, district chief Shir Khan Yosoufzai said.

International forces in Afghanistan say they have captured more than 100 senior Taliban figures since April in near-nightly raids targeting the top leaders. However, the successes have not managed to reduce insurgent attacks.