Kabul suicide bomber kills 17 outside Afghanistan's Supreme Court

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the killings of 'ruthless prosecutors'

At least 17 people have died and around 40 have been injured after a suicide bomber attacked Supreme Court staff in Kabul, local police said.

An email from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, claiming responsibility for the attack, read: "The bomber in a car struck and killed up to 50 ruthless prosecutors and other workers."

The Taliban routinely exaggerate details of their killings.

He went on: "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the name the Taliban took when they ruled the country) was obligated to act against this puppet regime because the people have suffered under the courts."

The attack comes only a day after seven insurgents, including suicide bombers, laid siege to Kabul's main airport for four hours.

And 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 - whom they consider an arm of President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government - telling them not to work there.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said the latest bomb hit three minibuses ferrying staff home, and that the attacker's car was parked on a road near the court compound and exploded when as they passed.

The Supreme Court is less than 500m from the entrance to the heavily fortified US embassy, with the Nato office also nearby.

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

The attack came on the same day that the UN representative in Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, criticised 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 per cent higher than the same period last year, Kubis said.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the bombing, saying it was another "terrorist act that once again shows the Taliban are serving the enemies of Islam."

The Afghan authorities are fighting the insurgency with little or no help from international forces that have been in the country since 2001's US-led invasion.

All Nato combat missions will finish by the end of next year, and the 100,000 foreign troops deployed across Afghanistan have already begun to withdraw from the battlefield.

More than 11 years after the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001, efforts to seek a political settlement ending the violence have so far made little progress, but pressure is growing ahead of the 50-nation coalition's withdrawal.

The US provides the bulk of the military presence, with 68,000 troops, with the UK's 9,000 the second most.

As the withdrawal looms, there are tentative parallel efforts to encourage negotiations with the insurgency.

Kubis added that the UN in Afghanistan had publicly and privately sent a message to the Taliban that the mission was "willing to discuss civilian casualties and how to reduce them." 

The Taliban, he said, had sent "signals of their willingness to discuss this," but that a way to establish contact with the group had not yet been worked out.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future