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Deadly Blast Hits Afghan Voter Registration Center

Deadly Blast Hits Afghan Voter Registration CenterDeadly Blast Hits Afghan Voter Registration Center

A blast at a voter registration center in Afghanistan's restive east on Sunday killed or wounded at least 30 people, officials said, capping a bloody week in the war-torn country. The bomb had been placed in a tent being used to register voters on the grounds of a mosque, marking the latest attack on preparations for the long-delayed legislative elections.

"A crowd of people who had come out of the mosque had gathered to register" when the blast took place, Khost provincial police chief Abdul Hanan Zadran told AFP.

Zadran said the casualty toll stood at "about 30". But provincial deputy director of public health Gul Mohammad Mangal told AFP at least 12 people had been killed and 33 wounded in the explosion. Mangal warned the toll could rise, with several of the wounded in a critical condition. "Ambulances are still bringing more people," he added.

It was the latest attack on election preparations and comes almost a week after 25 people were killed in a double bombing in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Nine journalists including AFP chief photographer Shah Marai were among the dead. BBC reporter Ahmad Shah was killed in a separate attack in Khost province.

The latest assault on a voter registration center is likely to deter more people from signing up for the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for October 20.

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