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Date TimeApril 22, 2018
VoiceIslamic State claims responsibility for suicide attack on ID cards queue that killed at least 31 people
Dozens dead in bombing at Kabul voter registration centre
A suicide bomber has killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens outside a voter registration centre in Kabul, the health ministry said, in the latest attack on election preparations.
The public health ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said another 54 people were wounded in Sunday’s attack. Gen Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief, said the suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards.
“It happened at the entrance gate of the centre. It was a suicide attack,” Amin told AFP.
The large explosion echoed across the city, shattering windows miles away from the attack site and damaging several nearby vehicles. Police blocked all roads to the blast site, with only ambulances allowed in. Local TV stations broadcast live footage of hundreds of distraught people gathered at nearby hospitals seeking information about loved ones.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shia “apostates”. Isis is opposed to the country holding democratic elections.
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.”
Earlier, the interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish put the death toll at nine and 56 wounded. He could not immediately be reached for an update.
Afghan officials often give conflicting tolls in the wake of attacks and routinely understate the figures.
The recent assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the run-up to legislative elections scheduled for 20 October, which are seen as a test run for next year’s presidential poll.
Over the next two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centres for the parliamentary and district council elections.
Officials have been pushing people to register amid fears a low turnout will undermine the credibility of the polls.
Last week, militants killed three police officers responsible for guarding voter registration centres in two Afghan provinces, according to authorities.
Meanwhile, at least five people were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the northern Baghlan province on Sunday. Zabihullah Shuja, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said four other people were wounded in the blast in Puli Khomri, the capital of the province.
The Taliban routinely target security forces and government officials with roadside bombs, which often end up killing civilians.
In the northern Balkh province, a district police chief died of his wounds after being shot on Saturday during a gun battle with insurgents, according to Sher Jan Durrani, spokesman for the provincial police chief. He said around a dozen insurgents were also killed in the battle, which is still going on.
Durrani identified the killed commander as Halim Khanjar, police chief for the Char Bolak district. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing.
The Afghan capital is braced for the Taliban’s launch of its customary spring offensive.
The Taliban are under pressure to take up President Ashraf Ghani’s peace offer made in February, but so far the group has given only a muted response.
Some western and Afghan officials expect 2018 to be a particularly bloody year.
Gen John Nicholson, the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, told Tolo TV last month that he expected the Taliban to carry out more suicide attacks this fighting season.

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