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Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 57 Afghans in Kabul

Among the victims were children in uniform who were on their way to a nearby school. A picture circulating on social media showed one young child in the morgue still wearing her pink schoolbag, pulled up as a pillow to her hair, which was covered in blood.

“I have carried so many bodies that I cannot even talk,” said Mohammad Karim, 47, who lives nearby. “What is our pain? It is an ongoing pain and misery. They are attacking us and we are being martyred. I carried about 12 bodies. I carried a daughter and mother. The daughter’s brain was smashed out, the mother’s abdomen was cut open.”

A separate explosion near a voter registration center in the northern province of Baghlan killed five people and wounded four others, officials there said.

In the week since voter registration began, staff members have been abducted in the western province of Ghor, and at least one registration center came under rocket fire in Badghis Province in the country’s northwest. In the eastern city of Jalalabad, gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed two police officers guarding a voter registration center.

Officials said that even provincial capitals were struggling to open all voter registration centers. “There are 55 voter registration centers in Kunduz city and the villages that belong to the center, and 20 of them are closed because those villages are under Taliban control,” said Gen. Abdul Hamid Hamidi, the police chief of Kunduz Province.

The country’s parliamentary elections have been delayed by three years as the leaders of the coalition government, which came out of a messy presidential election that almost tore the country apart, debated measures to prevent the fraud that had marred previous elections.

After public disagreements that added to the voter fatigue, the leaders announced an October date for the elections. They also decided to declare void the millions of voter identification cards already in circulation, which have been used in vote rigging in the past.

Instead, they asked people to return to their local polling centers and register with their national ID cards. Officials and party leaders have expressed concern about the low response, especially after recent attacks targeting registration centers or their staff. In the first week of voter registration, just 190,000 people signed up — from what political parties estimated is a pool of about 14 million eligible voters.

“We are concerned about the rate of voter registration,” said Bashir Ahmad Tayanj, a spokesman for the Junbish party, an Uzbek group. “If people don’t take part in the election, it will be meaningless.”

Security officials have said that close to 1,000 polling stations are completely beyond government control, while more than 2,000 others are in areas that are described as medium or high security risks. In total, there are about 7,355 polling stations in Afghanistan.

Source: NYT > World

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