57 ppl killed in suicide attack in Kabul
23 April, 2018
An IS suicide bomber killed at least 57 people including women and children and wounded 119 outside a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday in the latest attack on election preparations.
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.
There were anguished and angry scenes at Isteqlal Hospital where many of the victims were taken, with relatives criticising the Afghan government for failing to protect their loved ones.
The interior ministry had earlier said 48 people were killed and 112 wounded. Its spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the new toll.
Blood-stained National ID papers and voters' photos are seen on the ground after the suicide attack. — AP
“They are civilians, including women and children,” interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said earlier. The centre in a heavily Shiite-populated neighbourhood in the west of the city was also being used by people to register for national identification certificates, which they need in order to sign up to vote.
Sheets of paper and passport-sized photos lay scattered amid shattered glass and pools of blood on the street near badly damaged cars — grim evidence of the force of the blast.
“This senseless violence shows the cowardice and inhumanity of the enemies of democracy and peace in Afghanistan,” US ambassador John Bass wrote on Twitter. Nato and the United Nations also condemned the bombing.
The last major attack in Kabul was on March 21 when an IS suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd celebrating the Persian New Year holiday and killed at least 33 people.
Ariana TV showed angry crowds shouting “Death to the government!” and “Death to the Taliban!” A wounded man in a hospital bed wept as he told the network: “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.”
Elsewhere, a roadside explosion in the northern province of Baghlan on Sunday killed six people, including three women and two children.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned both attacks as “heinous”.
Afghanistan began registering voters on April 14 for the long-delayed legislative elections.
Officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern because 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, killing a police officer and wounding another person. Officials blamed the Taliban for the attack.