12 dead as suicide bomber targets voter registration centre in Kabul

A suicide bomber has struck a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital today, killing at least 12 people, officials said.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said another 57 people were wounded in today's attack, updating an earlier toll.

Gen Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief, said the suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards.

The large explosion echoed across the city, shattering windows miles away from the attack site and damaging several nearby vehicles.

Police blocked all roads to the blast site, with only ambulances allowed in.

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Local TV stations broadcast live footage of hundreds of distraught people gathered at nearby hospitals seeking word about loved ones.

The Taliban, who usually claims their attacks, denied involvement. That indicates that the bombing was carried out by a local affiliate of the so-called 'Islamic State' group, 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 centres 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 on Saturday during a gun battle 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.

Mr Durrani identified the slain commander as Halim Khanjar, police chief for the Char Bolak district.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing.

- PA

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