ISIS suicide bomber kills 57 people in Afghanistan

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KABUL: In a devastated Islamic State 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.

People at the site of a suicide bombing in Kabul.

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.
“Our patience is running out. This government should take responsibility for the lives of all these innocent people lost every day,” a man called Hussain, whose cousin was wounded in the blast, said adding “Nobody will go to vote anymore.” The health ministry gave 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,” 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.
“I found myself covered in blood, with dead people – women and children – around me,” said Ali Rasuli, who had been standing in a queue outside the centre when he saw a “fireball” in front of him. He was taken to hospital with leg and abdominal wounds.
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.

Blood stained papers and pictures of intending votes after the suicide blast.

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.
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.
Pakistan condemns
Pakistan has strongly condemns heinous and reprehensible suicide attacks in which many innocent civilians were killed and many others injured at voter registration centres in Kabul and Baghlan provinces in Afghanistan.
According to foreign office statement, “We are grieved at the loss of precious innocent lives in this brutal act of terrorism.”
We expressed heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured, it added.
Pakistan is confident that such attacks would not deter the resolve of the Afghan people to determine their own future through the exercise of their right to vote. Pakistan reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expresses solidarity with the government and people of Afghanistan in this hour of grief and sorrow.