17 dead in Taliban attack on apex court
KABUL (PAN): A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the Supreme Court in the nation’s heavily-fortified capital on Tuesday, killing 17 civilians and wounding 39 others, police said.
Women, children and court employees were among the casualties, Kabul’s deputy police chief, Col. Mohammad Daud Amin, told Pajhwok Afghan News after the car bombing that happened at 4.15pm. The casualties include eight women.
Brig. Gen Mohammad Zahir, Kabul’s crime branch head, indicated the toll -- based on initial reports -- could be revised. The explosion destroyed two vans of the Supreme Court, which is located near the US Embassy.
Ministry of Public Health official Dr. Kabir Amiri said eight dead bodies and 22 injured people had been evacuated from the site to different hospitals in the capital.
The explosives-laden car hit three minibuses that were waiting to pick up court employees. Several staffers were killed and wounded but the exact number was yet to be ascertained, police said.
Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the bomber, Eng. Abdul Wahed, blew himself up when court employees were going home.
Six judges were among 50 people killed in the suicide assault, which reduced six minibuses to a heap of mangled metal, Mujahid said, blaming courthouse for handing down “unfair verdicts” against fighters.
The explosion came a day after the Taliban targeted the Kabul International Airport with rockets and gunfire. Seven attackers were killed in the ensuing clash with security personnel.
President Karzai denounced the suicide bombing as a terrorist act, saying civilian killings had no justification in Islam and the Afghan culture. He accused the attackers of serving the interests of Afghanistan's enemies.
The United States condemned the bombing as an "appalling attack" in a populated area, targeting those who work to better Afghanistan. "Once again, it demonstrates the insurgents’ complete disregard for the lives of innocent Afghan civilians."
While mourning "this tragic loss of life", a statement from the US Embassy said: "We remain steadfast in supporting the Afghan government and people against the scourge of terrorism and the violence directed against them."
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the ISAF commander, said: "Once again the enemies of Afghanistan have demonstrated a complete lack of respect for human life...The targeting of hard working Afghans on their way home from work is reprehensible."
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