Afghan candidate vows to press ahead after assassination attempt

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s leading presidential candidate is vowing to press ahead with his campaign, after narrowly escaping an assassination attempt today.

The bombing attack on the convoy of Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul killed at least 10 people, including three in his entourage, and wounded dozens of others. It heavily damaged the front of Abdullah’s armored car, and destroyed several vehicles and storefronts.

The attack took place eight days before a runoff in which Afghans will choose a new leader. Taliban militants have vowed to disrupt the election as part of their fight against the Western-backed government. But this appeared to be the first attack targeting a candidate himself.

After the bombing, Abdullah calmly told an election rally that the attack was designed to “create fear and anxiety among the people and prevent them from deciding their own destiny.”

Many in the West are counting on Abdullah to guide Afghanistan through a difficult transition — and sign a security pact to allow about 10,000 U.S. troops to remain in the country for another two years.

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177-r-06-(Sound of emergency vehicle sirens and worker shouting through loudspeaker, at scene of attack on convoy)–Sound of an emergency vehicle siren and a rescuer shouting through a loudspeaker in the aftermath of blasts in Kabul. (6 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO MAH109: This image released by Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah campaign office shows a body on the ground as a wounded man, center, talks on the phone at the site of a suicide attack during a campaign rally for Abdullah, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, June 6, 2014. The Afghan Interior Ministry says a suicide bomber and a roadside bomb struck Abdullah’s convoy as it left a campaign event at a wedding hall in the capital Kabul, killing several civilians but leaving the candidate himself unharmed. (AP Photo/Yassin Haidari, Abdullah Abdullah campaign office) (6 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO MAH105: Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah attends a campaign rally shortly after his convoy was attacked in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, June 6, 2014. The Afghan Interior Ministry says a suicide bomber and a roadside bomb struck Abdullah’s convoy as it left an earlier campaign event at a wedding hall in the capital Kabul, killing several civilians but leaving the candidate himself unharmed. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini) (6 Jun 2014)

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