Fear and loathing in Kabul after ISIS bomb rips through election centre

Fear and loathing in Kabul after ISIS bomb rips through election centre

A suicide bomb claimed by ISIS ripped through an election registration centre in Kabul yesterday, killing dozens in what represented the deadliest attack so far on preparations for parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest outside a school in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul that was serving as a hub for residents to sign up for their national identity cards that would enable them to vote in parliamentary elections slated for October.

The blast killed at least 57 people, including children, and wounded at least 112 more, according to Wahid Majroh, Public Health Ministry spokesperson.

The targeted area is largely populated by the Shia Hazara minority long targeted by militant groups in Afghanistan. Locals described a scene of carnage at the site of the blast.

“I was at home when I heard a loud boom. Because it came from the direction of the school, I ran towards there; my children and nephews were in the school at the time,” recalled Haji Gulam Abbas, a 50-year-old resident of the neighbourhood who had six young relatives – all aged between 6 and 17 – injured in the attack.

“The bomber had detonated himself very close to the school. I saw over a hundred dead and injured people, many children among them,” he told The National as he waited outside the Emergency War and Trauma Hospital in central Kabul.

The father searched for his children and nephews among the dead bodies at the registration centre, but only found one of them. Only at the hospital would he be reunited with the five other relatives who were wounded in the attack.

“I am not sure what state of health any of them are in,” a worried Abbasi told The National.

Fear quickly turned to anger in the Afghan capital. Mohammad Asif, the relative of another wounded victim in the attack – an employee at the registration center – took aim at the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

“My cousin was working for them [the government], to help them hold elections. But they [leaders] are all fine and he is badly injured,” he said, frustrated that not a single Afghan leader had come to see the survivors.

“We are all dying everyday, men, women and children. Why should we vote for them?” he asked.

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