Suspected Taliban bomber targets Afghan court, kills 17

KABUL Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:06pm EDT

Men carry a victim of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul June 11, 2013. A loud explosion was heard in the Afghan capital Kabul's diplomatic area, and a police source said it was a suicide attack not far from the U.S. Embassy. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Men carry a victim of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul June 11, 2013. A loud explosion was heard in the Afghan capital Kabul's diplomatic area, and a police source said it was a suicide attack not far from the U.S. Embassy.

Credit: Reuters/Omar Sobhani

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KABUL (Reuters) - A suspected Taliban suicide bomber in a car detonated a bomb close to minibuses taking Supreme Court staff home in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least 17 people and wounding almost 40, police said.

It was the second large-scale attack in Kabul claimed by the hardline Islamist group in two days. On Monday, seven insurgents, including suicide bombers, laid siege to Kabul's main airport for four hours before they were killed.

Tuesday's attack appeared to underline the Taliban's readiness to target civilians, particularly court officials, whom they consider an arm of the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

In April, Taliban gunmen killed 44 people in the main court compound in the western province of Farah. A Taliban spokesman said they had sent several warnings to court staff telling them not to work there.

Tuesday's bomb struck three minibuses ferrying Supreme Court staff home, Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said.

The attacker's car was parked on a road near the court compound and exploded when the minibuses passed, police said.

A Reuters witness described seeing a damaged minibus leaning at an angle against some trees about 30 meters from the point of the explosion. The witness later saw police carry two bodies from the same area.

The Supreme Court is less than 500 meters from the entrance to the heavily fortified U.S. embassy, and the bomb was heard across Kabul's diplomatic precinct, triggering numerous embassy alarms.

"We were sitting in a car when suddenly there was an explosion in the car behind me," Kabul resident Mira Jan, who was bleeding from a wound in the head, told Reuters.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in an email from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

"The bomber in a car struck and killed up to 50 ruthless prosecutors and other workers," Mujahid said, adding that the bomber targeted four minibuses taking court employees home.

The Taliban routinely exaggerate the details and casualty tolls of their attacks.

The attack came on the same day that the United Nations' representative in Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, criticized the Taliban and other insurgent groups for being mostly to blame for the rise in civilian casualties in the first six months of the year.

The total of 3,092 civilians killed or wounded between January 1 and June 6 this year was 24 percent higher than the same period last year, Kubis said.

(Writing by Dylan Welch; Editing by Nick Macfie, Robert Birsel and Mike Collett-White)

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Comments (3)
0ldRNCowboy wrote:
I have to wonder with the recent increase in Taliban bombings in Afghanistan if this is a ploy to stop or delay the drawdown of US troops. Without NATO troops as targets, who will provide these fundamentalist Muslim zealots with a purpose to exist? Targeting Afghanis or Afghani government officials is a sure way to lose any local support they may still enjoy and is not in their best interests.

One thing is certain; the Afghani national police have a very long road ahead of them. Especially since it has recently come to light their ranks have been infiltrated by persons loyal to the Taliban.

Jun 11, 2013 11:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jeffmast wrote:
The United States pulled out(should have pulled out years ago)and Afghanistan descends,slowly,into an Islamic Hell.Is anyone surprised at this??

Jun 11, 2013 1:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BurnerJack wrote:
@oldRNCowboy: possible, but doubtful. even after American troops leave they will continue as long as they can until the present government is usurped by themselves and even after until the public is completely subdued by fear. This their aim as it always has been. Pure “Warlord” mentality and tactics except with the added “religious” angle to give the illusion of justification. Freedom is only one generation from being lost or found. If the Afghanis want freedom, they and they themselves only will have to fight to secure it. Just like everyone else.

Jun 11, 2013 4:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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