A suicide bombing targeting the Afghan election commission’s office in Kabul on Monday killed a police officer and wounded five people, the police said. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest surrounding Afghanistan’s embattled parliamentary election process.
The bomber was walking toward the gate of the heavily fortified election commission offices when the police became suspicious of his intentions and opened fire, prompting him to detonate his explosives vest, said police chief Bismillah Taban. Both the Taliban and the IS had threatened to disrupt parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, which were held in most provinces on October 20 and in southern Kandahar province last Saturday.
Earlier reports said the bomber in Monday’s attack drove an explosives-laden vehicle but Taban clarified later that he was on foot. In a statement, the Islamic State group said “martyrdom-seeker, Abu Usama al-Badkhishi” exploded his vest near two Afghan security vehicles and a van carrying commission employees.
Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections were held against a backdrop of violence, with a multitude of attacks killing at least 36 people. Voting in Kandahar was postponed after an October 18 attack by a turncoat Afghan guard who opened fire at a high-profile security meeting in the provincial capital that was also attended by American troops.
The province’s powerful provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq, was killed, as well as at least another provincial official and several policemen. The Taliban claimed that attack and said they also targeted Washington’s top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, who was unhurt. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley was wounded in the assault.
Raziq’s death dealt a huge blow to the Afghan government’s already flagging war against a resurgent Taliban. Unofficial election results of the parliamentary balloting are not expected before mid-November and official results sometime in December.