Nearly 60 civilians, mostly Shias, were killed and 120 injured in Kabul in a suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group against a registration center for the parliamentary elections, validating the worst fears of violence. on the occasion of the election announced for October.
A suicide bomber blew himself up in the morning from a dense crowd at the entrance to the center where voters retrieved their identity documents before registering on the electoral rolls. Since then, balance sheets have continued to swell throughout the day.
In the early evening, 57 dead and 119 wounded were counted, most of the members of the Shia Hazara minority, regularly targeted by Sunni extremists of the IS, according to the Ministry of Health.
At least 21 women and five children are among the dead, said ministry spokesman Wahid Majrooh; and 47 women and 16 children among the wounded.
“We now know that the government is unable to protect us,” a man, Akbar, shouted in the face of the disaster, bluntly insulting President Ashraf Ghani, before being cut off by the (private) television Tolo News.
“Death to the government,” “Death to the Taliban,” shouted the crowd around him, pointing to the bloody papers and IDs on the floor.
The Taliban quickly reported that they had “nothing to do with today’s attack,” implicitly blaming IS responsibility: the group then claimed responsibility for the attack through its propaganda organ, QAMA.
The attack occurred in the predominantly Shia neighborhood of western Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi: “People were gathered to retrieve their ID card, the explosion occurred at ‘Entrance. He was a suicide bomber, “said Kabul police chief Dawood Amin.
According to Interior spokesman Najib Danish, “the suicide bomber arrived on foot and unleashed his charge in the middle of the crowd” causing extensive damage.
This is the first attack in Kabul against a center preparing lists of electors for the legislative elections of October 20, since the start of registration on April 14.
But two other registrations have been targeted in the province this past week.
“No one will go to vote”
On Friday, a rocket struck one in Badghis province (north), killing one of the policemen who guarded him, according to a provincial official who accused the Taliban.
On Tuesday, three Electoral Commission (IEC) staff and two police officers were kidnapped in Ghor province (center) and released 48 hours later after the elders’ intervention. Here again, local officials accused the Taliban.
Violence and attacks are the main obstacles to the smooth running of the elections, admits the Electoral Commission which opened the registration centers in schools and mosques, all guarded by police officers who search the voters at the entrance.
“Our patience is exhausted, this government is responsible for these lost lives, no one will vote now,” enthuses Hussain, 34, who watches his injured cousin at Istiqlal Hospital.
Fifty wounded, all members of the Shia Hazara minority, were taken to this facility where the beds are all full and the smell of blood stubborn in the corridors, reported news agency journalist. “We were about 200 queuing to get our ID CARD,” recalls Ali Rasuli, 29, with legs and chest. “The police were not searching anyone,” he accused.
“Of course, insecurity is our first challenge and our major concern, especially in the countryside,” admitted recently to AFP the president of the IEC, Dr. Abdul Bay Sayad, himself threatened.
These elections are the first since 2010 and this election, the first since the presidential election of 2014.
Many Afghans want to get rid of a parliament (249 deputies) judged lazy and corrupt, whose mandate has expired for three years. But they fear even more a vote for nothing, confiscated by fraud and expose them to renewed violence.
Faced with the measured enthusiasm of his compatriots, President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday ordered the governors of the 34 provinces to speed up the registration process.
He also ordered officials to register with their families, and the mullahs to raise awareness.
The attack was condemned by the US Embassy in Kabul and US officials of Operation Resolute Support of NATO, who strongly support the holding of the presidential poll in 2019.
The latest attack – claimed by the IS – against the Afghan capital on the first day of the Persian New Year, March 21, had more than thirty dead and at least 70 wounded.