At least 37 killed after two blasts hit Afghan voter registration center

At least 37 people were killed, dozens others injured in Afghanistan after two explosions rocked the country.

The first explosion happened in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration center in a heavily Shiite-populated neighborhood in the western part of the city, killing at least 31 people and wounding 54 others, a health ministry spokesman said.

The ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Later in the day, another explosion rocked Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Afghanistan’s Baghlan Province, killing at least six people and wounding five others.

The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead-up to legislative elections scheduled for Oct. 20.

Afghanistan began registering voters on April 14 for the long-delayed legislative elections, which are seen as a test-run for the presidential poll next year.

Election officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern as the Taliban and other militant groups control or contest large swathes of the country.

Afghan police and troops have been tasked with protecting polling centers, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against insurgents on the battlefield.

Militants last Friday launched rockets at a voter registration center in the northwestern province of Badghis.

At least one police officer was killed and another person was wounded, officials said, blaming the Taliban.

Last Tuesday, gunmen attacked a voter registration center in the central province of Ghor, kidnapping three election workers and two policemen.

Taliban militants released the five two days later.

Over the next two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centers for the parliamentary and district council elections.

Officials have been pushing people to register amid fears a low turnout will undermine the credibility of the polls.

President Ashraf Ghani last week urged religious leaders to use Friday prayers to encourage worshippers to sign up.

He also called on provincial governors to tell their employees to register themselves and their family members. (CGTN)