At least 24 people were killed and many injured near an election rally held by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in central Parwan province on Tuesday, according to a health official.

Abdul Qasim Sangin, head of the provincial hospital said, “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”.

A local government official said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Ghani was present at the time of the explosion but is safe and unharmed, his campaign spokesman, Hamed Aziz, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press news agency.

Wahida Shahkar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor in Parwan said the explosion happened at the entrance of the venue hosting the rally.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

Earlier in the month, 12 people were killed and dozens wounded after a Taliban suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden car blew himself up near a heavily-guarded government office complex in the centre of the Afghan capital.