Blast at election centre in Afghan capital, at least 31 dead

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday condemned the suicide attack which claimed 31 lives in Kabul city and left 54 others injured.

General John Nicholson, the top United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commander in Afghanistan, told Tolo TV last month that he expected the Taleban to carry out more suicide attacks this fighting season. It was the most serious attack in Kabul since about 100 people were killed in January by a bomb concealed in an ambulance. The Sunni group has frequently targeted Afghanistan's Shi'ite minority, whom it views as "apostates".

"What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists and their backers chose to attack a voters' registration centre for the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections".

Afghanistan's global partners have insisted that the elections should be held this year before a presidential vote due in 2019, although there has been widespread scepticism that they will go ahead. The New York Times notes that there have been other attempts to disrupt the Afghan government's efforts to register voters over the last week, including smaller attacks on registration officers and election officials.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the attack on a voter registration center in Afghanistan. The dead included women and children while several wounded remained in critical condition. "They must not be allowed to succeed in deterring Afghan citizens from carrying out their constitutional right to take part in forthcoming elections".

Some worry that the attack could lead the public - who are already concerned for safety at polling stations and tired of voting because of past fraudulent elections - to not turn out in October.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said the toll from Sunday's attack, originally placed at four dead and 15 wounded, could climb further.

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The bomber detonated his vest in the crowd before he could be searched by police, said Hashmat Stanikzai, a Kabul police spokesman.

Police said the suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards.

An Afghan official says that at least five people were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the northern Baghlan province.

We stand with the people and government of Afghanistan in their fight against terrorism.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that killing.

"I strongly condemn the attack on a voter registration centre in Kabul".

  • Adam Floyd