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In twin Afghanistan attacks, two messages for Ghani and Trump

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Analysis. On Tuesday, two Taliban suicide attackers targeted the Afghan president in Parwan and government offices in Kabul, killing 46. The Islamists’ message is clear: no to elections and pressure on the White House after it stopped negotiations.

written by Giuliano Battiston, Emanuele Giordana

Topic Middle East and North Africa

September 19, 2019

In the space of 90 minutes on Tuesday, the Taliban perpetrated a double terrorist attack. In Charikar, the capital of Parwan province, they struck one of President Ghani’s campaign rallies in Kabul, and then, shortly afterwards, the Massoud Circle in the city center, close to many government buildings. At least 22 died in Kabul, with another 24 in Parwan and many dozens of wounded.

There was a single strategy behind these two attacks, aiming to send a message to two different recipients. In Charikar, the suicide bomber struck one of the control checkpoints at the entrance of a police training center. Inside were 5,000 people taking part in the campaign rally of President Ashraf Ghani, in one of his rare public appearances, particularly outside Kabul, in the campaign for the presidential elections on Sept. 28.

Until a few days ago, Ghani—who is seeking a second term—had avoided going on the move, instead holding video conferences with voters. Tuesday, he decided to present his agenda in person in Charikar, accompanied by........

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