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At Least 57 Killed In Kabul Voter-Center Suicide Attack

An Afghan men look out through a broken window at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on April 22.
An Afghan men look out through a broken window at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on April 22.

KABUL -- A suicide bombing outside a voter-registration center in the Afghan capital, Kabul, has killed at least 57 people and wounded 119 others, officials say.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said a bomber on foot targeted a crowd that had gathered to pick up national identification cards ahead of legislative elections later this year.

The dead and injured included many women and children, Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Majruh told RFE/RL.

The extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack in Dashte Barchi, a heavily Shi'ite-populated area in western Kabul, through its Amaq news agency.

The Sunni group has frequently targeted Afghanistan's Shi'ite minority, which they view as "apostates."

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack but said it "cannot divert us from our aims or weaken this national democratic process."

Tadamichi Yamamoto, who heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), saidthat the attack "appears to be part of a wholly unacceptable effort by extremists to deter Afghan citizens from carrying out their constitutional right to take part in elections."

Bilal Sidiqi, a spokesperson for Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, told RFE/RL that "attacking civilians at a public place is as barbaric, criminal, inhuman, and illegal as it can get."

There had already been several attacks on registration centers since Afghanistan on April 14 began registering voters for long-delayed parliamentary elections scheduled for October.

The vote is due to be followed by a presidential poll next year.

Election officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern as the Taliban and other militant groups control large swathes of the country.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa

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