International

ISIS claims responsibility for suicide blast that killed at least 31 people at voter registration centre in Kabul

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KABUL, April 22: ISIS has claimed responsibility for suicide blast that killed at least 31 at a voter registration centre in Kabul.

Another 54 people were wounded in the Afghanistan capital, a health ministry spokesman said.

The militant group's AMAQ news agency did not provide further details or evidence to back up its report.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said a bomber on foot approached the centre where officials had been issuing identity cards as part of a process of registering voters for the election scheduled for October.

The victims had been waiting to receive identity cards, officials said.

The explosion destroyed cars and shattered windows in nearby buildings, leaving rubble strewn across the street.

"There were women, children. Everyone had come to get their identity cards," said Bashir Ahmad who had been nearby when the attack took place, after weeks of relative calm in the capital.

The blast took place in Dasht-e Barchi, an area of western Kabul inhabited by many members of the mainly Shi'ite Hazara minority, which has been repeatedly hit by attacks claimed by Islamic State.

Voter registration centres have been set up across Afghanistan ahead of long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections due to be held in October and there have been serious concerns that militants might attack them.

April 22, 2018