63 Dead In Afghan Voter Center Attack

Voter registration centres in the capital city of Afghanistan and neighbouring Baghlan were victim to bombings early last week. The centres totaled casualties of approximately 63 civilians, with hundreds reportedly injured, after the massive explosion.

The malicious attacks began in Kabul, when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the doorway of a voter identification distribution centre, killing roughly 57 citizens. Later that day, a vehicle holding a family of six struck a roadside bomb in Baghlan’s Pul-e-Khumri city near another voter registration centre, killing the family on site. Both incidents are associated with a series of ongoing attacks on voter registration.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, better known as ISIL, claimed responsibility for the onslaught in Kabul, leaving the question of the Baghlan explosion up in the air. The ISIL attack occurred in Dasht-e-Barchi, a predominantly Shia Hazara area in Kabul. A number of Hazara people who currently hold position in the newly-emerging Afghanistan government are decorated with higher education, and many are enrolled in the country’s army. The blast left behind passport-sized photos scattered amongst shards of glass and sat in pools of blood near mangled cars. Photos from the explosion show parents crouched over their injured children, and victims mourning outside of the local hospital.

Bashir Ahmad, a witness, told Al Jazeera, “After I heard a bang, I rushed to the site of the blast and, when I arrived at the scene, we helped many wounded people by carrying them to hospital.” Ahmad also reported that countless victims from the explosion were women and children, present to receive their identification cards. And indeed, according to the spokesman for the Public Health ministry, 5 small children and 21 women were killed in the attack. Reportedly, the number could rise among the injured.

Victims and family members reacted with anger due to the consistent failure of the Afghan government to protect their constituents from ISIL. Likewise, US Ambassador John Bass remarked on Twitter, “This senseless violence shows the cowardice and inhumanity of the enemies of democracy and peace in Afghanistan.” NATO and the UN also commended the tragedy last week.

The attack was aimed to bar Afghan’s from being properly registered to vote in the coming legislative elections scheduled in October, underscoring the growing concerns of safety in voting elections later this year.

Kendall Rotar