An Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber killed at least 57 people including women and children and wounded 119 outside a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday in the latest attack on election preparations.
The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead-up to legislative elections scheduled for October 20, which are seen as a test-run for next year’s presidential poll. Though every terrorist attack is condemnable, but this attack is more tragic considering the fact that majority of the victims were women and children. At the time of suicide attack, people were taking part in the democratic process of a country that is fighting with terror from last few decades.
Country was already fighting war against insurgents; particularly Taliban as they enjoy control on large part of the country, but in recent times IS has become major terrorist threat for the country. Afghan government was trying to indulge in negotiations with the Taliban in a bid to secure a peace deal, but now it is facing another major threat in shape of active role of ISIS in the terrorist activities in the country. The last major attack in Kabul was on March 2, which was also carried out by an IS suicide bomber who blew himself up in a crowd celebrating the Persian New Year holiday and killed at least 33 people. IS is facing strong resistance in the Middle East, as terrorist organization is being squeezed out from the area, but it seems that now its focus has shifted to Afghanistan and it is operating in the remote areas of the country.
Afghanistan is registering 14 million adults as voters for the long-delayed legislative elections. As per reports, more than 7,000 polling centres would be established for the parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for October 20. Considering the upcoming elections, Afghan government will face serious challenges as it seems civilians are the soft target of terrorists. Special efforts would be required to secure polling centres as places of public gatherings seem the main target of terrorists.
Considering the recent surge in terrorist attacks in the country, Afghan government requires special efforts in ensuring security to the large number of polling stations. There is no second opinion that terrorists who are targeting civilians at every possible opportunity, would surely be thinking to target people on Election Day. It is high time that Afghan officials need to escalate efforts in taking action against the growing influence of terrorist organizations in the country.
Increased terrorist attacks reflect the fact that ISIS has gained considerable presence in Afghanistan.