KABUL:, APR 22,
An Islamic State suicide bomber killed 48 people including women and children and wounded 112 outside a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, officials said.
“They are civilians, including women and children,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish.
The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead-up to legislative elections scheduled for October 20, which are seen as a test-run for next year’s presidential poll.
“It happened at the entrance gate of the centre. It was a suicide attack,” Dawood Amin, city police chief, told AFP.
A Shia-majority area
The centre in the heavily Shia-populated neighbourhood in the west of the city was also being used by people to register for national identification certificates, which they need to sign up to vote.
Footage on Ariana TV showed pools of blood and shattered glass on the street.
Earlier, angry crowds shouted “Death to the government!” and “Death to the Taliban!”
“I don’t know where my daughters are”
A wounded man in a hospital bed wept as he told Ariana TV: “I don’t know where my daughters are. God damn the attackers!” A witness to the attack named Akbar told Tolo TV: “Now we know the government cannot provide us security: we have to get armed and protect ourselves.”
Photos posted on social media purportedly of the scene showed several bodies on the ground and a badly damaged two-storey building.
Afghanistan began registering voters on April 14 for the long-delayed legislative elections.
Main scourges: IS, Taliban
Officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern as the Taliban and other militant groups control or contest large swathes of the country.
Afghan police and troops have been tasked with protecting polling centres, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against insurgents on the battlefield.
Militants on Friday launched rockets at a voter registration centre in the northwestern province of Badghis.
At least one police officer was killed and another person was wounded, officials said, blaming the Taliban.