Afghanistan: Khost mosque blast kills 14, wounds dozens

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At least 14 people have been killed by an explosion at a mosque in eastern Afghanistan that is being used as a voter registration centre, according to a health official.

Waheed Majrooh, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, told Al Jazeera more than 30 others were wounded in Sunday’s attack, which took place inside Yaqoubi mosque in the city of Khost.

The bomb went off as civilians gathered both for prayers and to register.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told Al Jazeera that the group was not involved in the attack.

Safety concerns

Afghanistan is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in October.

Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from the capital, Kabul, said there had been a number of attacks in Afghanistan since the voter registration process started in mid-April.

“Attacks on voter registration centres, on election officials and election workers [show] clearly opponents of the government are trying to derail these long-awaited elections,” Glasse said.

An estimated one million people have registered to take part in the ballot to date, Glasse added, still well short of the government’s target of 15 million registrations by mid-June.

“That now seems a very distant prospect,” added Glasse, noting that many people in Kabul were “frightened to go to any of these voter registration centres”.

“Some of them are in schools and parents have objected to this because they are worried about the safety factor.”

Earlier this month, bombings at voter registration centres in Kabul and in Baghlan province killed at least 63 people and wounded more than 100.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul.

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