18 dead, 67 hurt in militants attack in Balkh
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Eighteen persons were killed and 67 others injured after a group of heavily armed militants attacked the appellant court complex in the capital of northern Balkh province with bombs and gunfire on Thursday.
The assault that involved four attackers began before noon at about 11am and stretched into the evening till 6:30pm in Mazar-i-Sharif, the acting provincial police chief told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Col. Abdul Razaq Qaderi said the dead included five officials and as many civilians. The attack came to an end only after all the four attackers were killed, he said.
Dr. Noor Mohammad Faiz, the civil hospital chief in Mazar-i-Sharif, confirmed receiving five dead bodies and 63 injured people.
The dead included three policemen, including an officer, and two civilians, he said.
Most of the injured were prosecutors and staff members at the judicial complex, including the provincial attorney, Mirza Ghulam Ali, the provincial police spokesman, Sherjan Durrani and four female attorneys.
The injured also included women and children and a number of them were in a critical condition, the senior doctor said.
Dr. Faiz said some had received shrapnel, bullet and burn injuries and others got injured after jumping from the compound.
Abdullah, giving an eyewitness account, told Pajhwok Afghan News the four attackers came in a black-coloured car.
They first opened fire at the guards and then entered the building. “Later a woman and a white-bearded man came out of the attorney’s office building in injured condition,” he said.
Abdullah said the attackers were dressed in military uniform and they detonated four bombs during the onslaught.
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack that comes ahead of the traditional fighting season that begins when snow starts melting in spring.
The insurgency spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said dozens of officials at the attorney’s and the appellant court suffered casualties in the attack carried out by their four fighters.
He said the attack was in retribution to mistreatment of Taliban prisoners at the government’s jails.
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