April 1, 2014
At least 15 senior Taliban commanders were killed on Tuesday in Ghazni province by a suicide bomber reportedly attempting to keep them from carrying out plans to disrupt Saturday’s elections, according to Afghan officials.
In addition to the 15 confirmed dead, nine other militants were wounded by the blast, which occurred in the Gelan district of Ghazni, according to the National Directorate of Security (NDS). Among the casualties were said to be Pakistani Taliban leaders.
Insurgents have publicly stated their intent to derail the elections, which will mark the country’s first democratic transition of presidential power in history.
The Taliban commanders were reportedly meeting to plan Election Day attacks when one of their own decided to turn against them using the very tactic made infamous by the insurgent group.
Tuesday’s incident was first made known by the NDS and then confirmed by the Ghazni Governor’s office.
Violence around the country has increased in recent weeks, including a number of attacks on Independent Election Commission (IEC) offices in Kabul and elsewhere.
The Taliban has also threatened voters with violence, yet over the course of the past week there has been a major surge in voter registration. Many Afghans have said they plan to participate in the elections as a way of defying the militants.