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Bomb Blast in Afghanistan Kills 2 - 2004-07-28

A bombing at a voter registration site in southeastern Afghanistan has left at least two Afghans dead, including one United Nations staff worker. The attack came as the group Doctors Without Borders announced it was withdrawing its staff from the country because of security concerns.

United Nations and U.S. military officials say the homemade explosive device went off Wednesday morning at a mosque in Ghazni Province.

U.N. workers were registering voters for Afghanistan's first post-war elections, including a presidential election in October and a parliamentary election next spring.

U.S. military spokesman Major Jon Siepmann says two employees of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan were wounded in the blast and evacuated to a coalition base near Kabul.

"The two injured UNAMA workers were flown by United Nations helicopter to the 325th field hospital at Bagram Air Field with serious injuries," he said.

The incident coincided with an announcement by the Nobel Prize-winning medical aid group Doctors Without Borders that it will be ending its operations in the country.

A Dutch director for Doctors Without Borders, Kenny Gluck, cited last month's killing of two Afghan and three foreign staff members in an ambush in northwestern Badghis Province.

He said Afghan authorities had not acted against some of the suspects in the attack.

"They have credible evidence of the involvement of local commanders in Badghis Province," said Mr. Gluck. "But so far, they have neither detained these people nor have they publicly denounced them and declared them to be fugitives."

He also noted other security concerns, including a public threat by militant members of Afghanistan's former Taleban regime, who vowed to target the group.

The Taleban has accused Doctors Without Borders of working with U.S. troops offering security for the current transitional government, something which the aid group denies.

Mr. Gluck says the decision to leave Afghanistan was a difficult one, given the organization's long history in the country.

"It's a tremendously sad day because were doing this after 24 years of work in Afghanistan," he added.

But he said that concern for the group's volunteers was simply too great.