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April 02, 2014

Suicide Blast at Afghan Interior Ministry Kills 6

by Sharon Behn

A suicide bomber tried to ram his way into Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry on Wednesday, killing at least six police officers who were outside the compound. This latest attack is likely to add to the tension surrounding the April 5 presidential election.
 
The large explosion shook the Afghan capital. A suicide bomber dressed in a military uniform detonated his explosives at the entrance of Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry. 

  ​​The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just hours after the militants reiterated they would disrupt Saturday's vote with more violence and warning Afghans against heading to the polls.
 
The Interior Ministry said the suicide attacker blew himself up after security personnel recognized him as he tried to enter the highly fortified compound. A number of people were waiting at the entrance when the bomb went off.
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The blast was the latest in a series of bloody militant strikes in the capital that have left police, election officials, journalists and children dead across the city.
 
Haji Moheb, whose house was shot up in a gun battle between security forces and militants just days before, said the Taliban cannot stop the election process.
 
“Yes, I am going to vote," he said. "We are sacrificing for this election. Even if I lose everything, like I lost my house, I am going to take part in this election.”

The Taliban used Moheb's house to launch the March 29 attack against election commission headquarters. All of the attackers were killed in the ensuing gun battle.
 
The head of the U.N. asssistance mission, Jan Kubis, acknowledged the security problems, but encouraged voters to cast their ballots on Saturday.
 
“Use this chance. This is your chance, this is your right," Kubis said. "You should not allow anyone to deprive you of your right to go and vote and thus determine by peaceful, democratic means the future of your country, the future of your children, of your families.”

The presidential election, if successful, will be the first democratic transfer of power in the country, which is seen as pivotal to Afghanistan’s future. 
 
Militant bombers and gunmen have attacked targets across the country in the past two weeks attempting to derail the vote.
 
In Kabul, they have left a trail of dead and wounded, after storming a U.S.-based de-mining company, an election office, trying to attack the election commission headquarters, and killing guests at the city’s Serena hotel.
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