At least 31 people were killed when a suicide bomber struck a voter registration center in Afghanistan’s capital in an attack claimed by the Islamic State terror group.
Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro told the Associated Press that 54 people were wounded in the massive blast in Kabul, which shattered windows miles away from the attack site.
Majro told TOLO News the wounded have been taken to a number of Kabul hospitals, and that officials are orking to identify the victims.
Police blocked all roads to the blast site, with only ambulances allowed in.
Local TV stations broadcast live footage of hundreds of distraught people gathered at nearby hospitals seeking word about loved ones.
Gen. Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief, told the AP the suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards. Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections in October.
ISIS claimed responsibility in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shiite “apostates.”
The bombing on Sunday was the fourth attack on the election process since voter registration started last Saturday, according to TOLO News.
Last week, three police officers responsible for guarding voter registration centers in two Afghan provinces were killed by militants, according to authorities.
Afghan security forces have struggled to prevent attacks by ISIS as well as the more firmly established Taliban since the U.S. and NATO concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014.
Both groups regularly launch attacks, with the Taliban usually targeting the government and security forces, and IS targeting the country’s Shiite minority.
Both groups want to establish a harsh form of Islamic rule in Afghanistan, and are opposed to democratic elections.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.