Kabul: Suicide bomber strikes in Afghanistan capital, 48 killed

At least 48 people were killed on Sunday after a suicide bomber struck a voter registration center in Afghanistan capital Kabul. Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said another 112 people were wounded in the attack.  The suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards, Gen. Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief said.

The explosion shattered windows miles away from the blast site. Several nearby vehicles were also damaged. All roads leading to the blast site were blocked, with police allowing only ambulances to pass through. Local TV stations broadcast live footage of hundreds of distraught people gathered at nearby hospitals seeking word about loved ones.

Terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, AMAQ news agency said. They, however, did not provide any evidence to substantiate the claim. The Taliban, who usually claim their attacks, denied involvement. That means the bombing was likely carried out by a local Islamic State affiliate, which has been behind past bombings in Kabul that targeted civilians. Both groups are opposed to democratic elections.

Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections in October. Last week, three police officers responsible for guarding voter registration centers in two Afghan provinces were killed by militants, according to authorities.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a district police chief in the northern Balkh province died of his wounds after being shot Saturday during a gunbattle with insurgents, according to Sher Jan Durrani, spokesman for the provincial police chief in Balkh. He said around a dozen insurgents were also killed in the battle, which is still underway. Durrani identified the slain commander as Halim Khanjar, police chief for the Char Bolak district. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing.

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