KABUL: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd outside a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, killing four people and wounding at least 15 in the latest attack on the centres.
The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead-up to legislative elections scheduled for October 20.
“It happened at the entrance gate of the centre. It was a suicide attack. There are casualties,” Dawood Amin, city police chief, told AFP.
Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said at least four people had been killed and 15 wounded.
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish confirmed the death toll but put the number of wounded at 20.
The centre was also being used by people to register for national identification certificates.
The attack happened in a heavily Shiite-populated neighbourhood in the west of the city. Footage on Ariana TV 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, which are seen as a test-run for the presidential poll next year.
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 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.
At least one police officer was killed and another person was wounded, officials said, blaming the Taliban.
On Tuesday gunmen attacked a voter registration centre 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 centres 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.
He also called on provincial governors to tell their employees to register themselves and family members. – AFP
Story first published: 22nd April 2018