Afghanistan: Kabul suicide bomb kills dozens | News | DW | 22.04.2018
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Afghanistan: Kabul suicide bomb kills dozens

At least 57 people have been killed in a blast in Afghanistan's capital after several weeks of relative calm. The attack highlights ongoing security concerns ahead of delayed elections planned for October.

At least 57 people were killed and around 100 were injured in a suicide bomb attack at a voter registration center in Afghanistan capital of Kabul on Sunday.

The attack, claimed by "Islamic State" (IS), highlights security concerns ahead of legislative elections scheduled for October 20.  

Read more: Why is 'Islamic State' targeting Shiites in Afghanistan?

The blast

  • A suicide bomber targeted people who had gathered to receive national identification cards.
  • The blast shattered windows several miles away and destroyed several nearby vehicles.
  • Police blocked public traffic on all roads to the blast site.
  • IS claimed responsibility through its Amaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shiite "apostates."
  • The blast happened in Dasht-e-Barchi, a Shiite Hazara minority area, which has been repeatedly hit by attacks claimed by IS.

 Read more: Taliban 'elements' interested in talks: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

Women and children

"There were women, children. Everyone had come to get their identity cards," witness Bashir Ahmad told the Reuters news agency.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said the bomber approached the center on foot. 

Relative calm: The blast occurred after several weeks of relative calm in the city and could set back plans to hold elections. President Ashraf Ghani is under international pressure to host long-delayed parliamentary elections this year. After the blast, he said it "cannot divert us from our aims or weaken this national democratic process".

Upcoming elections:  Legislative elections scheduled for October have been seen as a test-run for next year's presidential election. Both the Taliban and IS oppose democratic elections, preferring to install a harsh form of Islamic rule in Afghanistan. Over the next two months, authorities hope to register as many as 14 million people at more than 7,000 polling centers, which are being protected by Afghan police and troops.  

aw/ng (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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