Wahida Shahkar, a spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan’s northern Parwan Province, said an improvised explosive device attached to a security vehicle was detonated on Tuesday afternoon when President Ghani began addressing an election campaign rally in the city of Charikar, the provincial capital of Parwan.
Shahkar added that the explosion hit the entrance to the venue, killing at least 24 and injuring over 30 people.
“Women and children are among them and most of the victims seem to be the civilians. Ambulances are still operating, and the number of casualties may rise,” said Abdul Qasim Sangin, the head of the provincial hospital.
Reports said President Ghani was not hurt in the blast and was taken to safety.
No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility for the incident, the first high-profile terrorist attack that targeted an event featuring the Afghan president himself.
Formerly, a rocket attack had targeted an event attended by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai.
Scheduled for September 28, the presidential election in war-ravaged Afghanistan has been postponed twice over fears of terrorist attacks.
Ghani has entered the race in a bid to secure one more term in office.
Blast in Kabul
A separate blast in the center of the capital Kabul killed at least 22 people on Tuesday, according to officials.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said that 38 people were also wounded in the explosion.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The incidents took place after the US-Taliban peace talks collapsed last week.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime. Some 18 years on, Washington has been seeking truce with the militant group.