Kabul suicide blast kills 14 at court
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) Kabul police say a suicide car bomber that struck outside the Supreme Court in the Afghan capital has killed at least 14 people and wounded 30.
Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said today’s attack was carried out by a bomber in an SUV. He said the attacker specifically targeted buses with court employees as they were leaving after the day’s work.
The courthouse is on a main road in central Kabul near the U.S. Embassy.
The bomb exploded outside the court’s back entrance as employees were leaving for the day and as cars belonging to staff were driving out of the back gate, said police officer Jahn Agha. Eyewitnesses said the bomber was on foot.
The courthouse is located on a road a few hundred yards from the gates of the American mission in a central part of Kabul, which lead to initial confusion as to the intended target of the blast. However, the gates are quite a distance from the actual U.S. Embassy building and also from nearby NATO headquarters. Deputy police chief Dawood Amin said the top court was the target of the attack.
“There were casualties among the supreme court officials,” said eyewitness Mohammad Salem.
It was the second attack in Kabul in as many days. No one immediately claimed responsibility for today’s attack but it comes as the Taliban and other militants have unleashed a wave of bombings and assassinations around the country, testing the ability of the Afghan security forces to respond with reduced help from international forces, which have begun a withdrawal that will see most foreign troops gone by the end of 2014.
On Monday, seven Taliban fighters with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns launched a rare assault on NATO’s operational headquarters at the military section of Kabul’s international airport. All seven militants were killed and two civilians were wounded in the violence.