Suicide attack on Kabul election center kills at least 52
KABUL – Reuters
A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration center in the Afghan capital Kabul yesterday, killing at least 52 people and wounding more than 100 as they waited to receive identity cards.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack on a project of key importance to the credibility of President Ashraf Ghani’s Western-backed government, which has pledged to hold parliamentary elections this year.
The militant group’s AMAQ news agency said did not provide further details or evidence to back up its report.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said a bomber on foot approached the center where officials had been issuing identity cards as part of a process of registering voters for the election scheduled for October.
A spokesman for the ministry of public health said at least 52 people were confirmed dead and more than 100 were wounded. The explosion destroyed cars and shattered windows in nearby buildings, leaving rubble strewn across the street.
“There were women, children. Everyone had come to get their identity cards,” said Bashir Ahmad who had been nearby when the attack took place, after weeks of relative calm in the capital.
The blast took place in Dasht-e Barchi, an area of western Kabul inhabited by many members of the mainly Shiite Hazara minority, which has been repeatedly hit by attacks claimed by ISIL.
Voter registration centers have been set up across Afghanistan ahead of long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections due to be held in October.