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48 killed in Afghan voter centre attack

Kabul, Sunday

An Islamic State suicide bomber killed at least 48 people including women and children and wounded 112 outside a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul today 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.

“It happened at the entrance gate of the centre. It was a suicide attack,” Dawood Amin, Kabul police chief, told AFP. Both the Health and Interior ministries confirmed the latest toll for the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group via its propaganda arm Amaq.

“They are civilians, including women and children,” said Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish. 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 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 that drew international condemnation.

“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 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. -AFP

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