Attack on Would-Be Voters Leaves 57 Dead in Afghanistan

Site of an attack at the Marshal Fahim military academy in Kabul

"Our patience is running out".

"I strongly condemn this morning's suicide attack on a voter registration center in #Kabul and offer my condolences to the victims and their families". The toll could still rise, he told the Associated Press news agency.

The centre in the neighbourhood in the west of the city was also being used by people to register for national identification certificates, which they need to sign up to vote.

Those among the dead were 21 women and five children while several wounded remained in critical condition. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said the child had been taken to the hospital and was in stable condition.

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United States ambassador John Bass wrote on Twitter: "This senseless violence shows the cowardice and inhumanity of the enemies of democracy and peace in Afghanistan". North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the United Nations also condemned the bombing.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said a bomber on foot approached the centre where officials had been issuing identity cards as part of the registration process for voters for the election scheduled for October.

A wounded man in a hospital bed wept as he told Ariana TV: "I don't know where my daughters are. God damn the attackers". There was no direct link to the Kabul attack.

ISIS said "our martyrdom brother" targeted a group of Shiite people outside the voter registration center in the Dashte Barchi neighborhood.

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In the northern Balkh province, a district police chief died of his wounds after being shot Saturday during an exchange of gunfire with insurgents, according to Sher Jan Durrani, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

President Ghani - under worldwide pressure to hold long-delayed parliamentary elections this year - condemned the attack and said it "cannot divert us from our aims or weaken this national democratic process".

The government has set up more than 7,000 centers across the country to handle some 10 million voter registrations for upcoming elections.

At the scene of the attack, relatives of the victims tried to go past the police cordon for news of their loved ones. Sunday's attack also targeted a project of major importance to the credibility of President Ashraf Ghani's government.

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Two policemen have been killed and five people, including three election officials, have been kidnapped since the voter registration began.

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