Sunday’s blast took place in Dasht-e Barchi, an area of western Kabul inhabited by many members of the mainly Shi’ite Hazara minority, which has been repeatedly hit by attacks claimed by Islamic State.
At least 62 people were killed on Sunday after a suicide bomber struck a voter registration center in Afghanistan capital Kabul. Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said another 112 people were wounded in the attack. The suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards, Gen. Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief said.
Waheed Majroh, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, told Anadolu Agency that 62 people had been killed and over 100 were injured.
“More than 20 women and children are among the dead,” he added.
The explosion shattered windows miles away from the blast site. Several nearby vehicles were also damaged. All roads leading to the blast site were blocked, with police allowing only ambulances to pass through. Local TV stations broadcast live footage of hundreds of distraught people gathered at nearby hospitals seeking word about loved ones.
Terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, AMAQ news agency said. They, however, did not provide any evidence to substantiate the claim. The Taliban, who usually claim their attacks, denied involvement. That means the bombing was likely carried out by a local Islamic State affiliate, which has been behind past bombings in Kabul that targeted civilians. Both groups are opposed to democratic elections.
Jawed Hassan, an eye witness, said a large number of civilians, including women and children, had gathered to get identity cards for the upcoming elections due to a shortage of application forms on Saturday.
“I saw with my own eyes many children were killed. Women were also among the victims,” he added.
Registration began last week for long-awaited local and parliamentary elections, set for Oct. 20.
This is the third attack in the last week against Afghanistan’s voter registration process, and the biggest.
Through a propaganda website, Daesh claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections in October. Last week, three police officers responsible for guarding voter registration centers in two Afghan provinces were killed by militants, according to authorities.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a district police chief in the northern Balkh province died of his wounds after being shot Saturday during a gunbattle with insurgents, according to Sher Jan Durrani, spokesman for the provincial police chief in Balkh. He said around a dozen insurgents were also killed in the battle, which is still underway. Durrani identified the slain commander as Halim Khanjar, police chief for the Char Bolak district. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing.
The United Nations in Afghanistan described the incident as the latest in a spate of attacks that appear to deliberately target election-related facilities.
“The UN family in Afghanistan feels a deep sense of revulsion at today’s outrage,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“Compounding the callous disregard for the lives of civilians, the killing appears to be part of a wholly unacceptable effort by extremists to deter Afghan citizens from carrying out their constitutional right to take part in elections.”