Suicide attack on Kabul voter registration center kills 31
At least 31 people were killed, and several others were wounded after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd outside a voter registration center in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday. The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead up to legislative elections scheduled for October 20. "It happened at the Center's entrance gate," said City Police chief Dawood Amin.
The attack happened in a heavily Shiite-populated neighborhood in the city's west. TV footages showed pools of blood and shattered glass on the street. Angry crowds shouted "Death to the government!" and "Death to the Taliban!" There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Photos posted on social media purportedly of the site 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. Election 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 centers, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against insurgents on the battlefield. Militants on Friday launched rockets at a voter registration center in the northwestern province of Badghis. At least one police officer was killed and another person was wounded, officials said, blaming the Taliban.
Further, on Tuesday gunmen attacked a voter registration center in the central province of Ghor, kidnapping three election workers and two policemen. Taliban militants released the five on Thursday.
Over the next two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centers 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. President Ashraf Ghani last week urged religious leaders to use Friday prayers to encourage worshippers to sign up.