KABUL: At least 52 people have been confirmed dead and 112 others sustained injuries, some of them critical, in two separate bomb explosions in capital Kabul and Baghlan province, Public Health Ministry officials said Sunday.
In the first attack which occurred in Dashti Barchi district of Kabul at around 10:00 a.m. local time (0530 GMT), 46 people, mostly civilians, were killed and dozens others injured, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish and hospital sources.
Officials said the casualties were all civilians – most of whom had been waiting outside a population registration office in Dasht-e-Barchi to apply for their IDs in order to register to vote in the October elections.
Testimony to the deadly blast were the piles of blood-stained documents strewn around the blast scene following the explosion.
Officials confirmed a suicide bomber had detonated his explosives among the people, near the entrance to the offices.
Exact figures on how many people had been waiting were not available but officials said that particular office had in recent days been processing about 100 ID (Tazkira) applications a day.
By Sunday mid-day, there had been five attacks in less than a week against the election process.
Two hours after the Kabul bombing, an explosion rocked Pul-e-Khumri city in Baghlan province, killing at least six people and wounding five others.
This explosion happened close to a voter registration center in the provincial capital, officials confirmed.
The hardliner Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in Kabul, which has been widely condemned by Afghans as a coward terrorist attack and an attempt to sabotage the election process.
“The attack on the site of voters’ registration here in Dashti Barchi area of Kabul is to sabotage the upcoming elections in the country,” legislator Aref Rahmani told media persons.
The first parliamentary election in the post-Taliban Afghanistan was held in 2005 while the second parliamentary polls took place in 2010. The voter registration process started on April 14 for the next parliamentary polls.
The parliamentary votes, originally scheduled in early 2015 following the presidential election, have been repeatedly delayed.
Anti-government militants have abducted three employees of the voters’ registration service in the southern Ghor province and shot dead two guards of the registration site in the eastern Nangarhar province over the past week.
On Tuesday, unknown armed men attacked a voter registration center in Ghor province and kidnapped three IEC employees and two policemen. Ghor police spokesman said the attackers were Taliban.
On Thursday, unknown armed men attacked two police force members in Jalalabad City who were guarding a voter registration center. The two policemen were killed in the ensuing gunfight.
On Friday, unknown armed men attacked a voter registration center in Qala-e-Naw, the center of Badghis province, where a police officer assigned to maintain security was killed.
Following the Pul-e-Khumri explosion, President Ashraf Ghani posted a tweet saying: “I condemn the heinous terrorist attacks in Kabul and Pul-e-Khumri. I wish Allah’s mercy upon those who martyred, speedy recovery to the wounded, and convey my deep condolences to victims’ families. I instructed relevant institutions to provide support and care to those affected.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan has strongly condemned suicide attacks at Voter Registration Centers in Kabul and Baghlan provinces of Afghanistan on Sunday.
In a statement, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal said we are grieved at the loss of precious innocent lives in this brutal act of terrorism.
He said Pakistan is confident that such attacks will not deter the resolve of the Afghan people to determine their own future through the exercise of their right to vote.
The statement said Pakistan reiterates unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expressed solidarity with the government and people of Afghanistan in this hour of grief and sorrow.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned the terrorist blast in Kabul that claimed the life of dozens of people.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi described Kabul’s terrorist blast as a ‘criminal’ and ‘inhumane’ action.
Qasemi sympathized with the Afghan people and government and the bereaved families of the victims of the tragic incident.
The official expressed the hope for rooting out terrorism in the region and the world through joint bilateral, regional and international cooperation.
A suicide bomb attack at a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday has killed at least 48 people, dispatches reported.
Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attack. – NNI