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Suicide Bomber Strikes Afghan Supreme Court, Killing 19

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© The Associated Press Security personnel stand guard at the site of a suicide attack on the Supreme Court in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.

© The Associated Press Security personnel stand guard at the site of a suicide attack on the Supreme Court in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.

AP – KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber struck an entrance to Afghanistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people in the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s judiciary.

The attacker was on foot, and targeted a side door as court employees and other people were exiting the building in downtown Kabul, the Interior Ministry said. Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said 41 people were wounded, including 10 in critical condition.

No one immediately claimed the attack, which bore the hallmarks of the Taliban. The insurgents have been at war with the U.S.-backed government for 15 years and have increasingly targeted the judiciary since the execution of six convicted insurgents last May.

Shortly after the executions, a suicide bomber targeted a minibus carrying court employees in Kabul during the morning rush hour, killing 11 people in an attack claimed by the Taliban, which called it an act of revenge.

In June, three Taliban fighters stormed a court building in the eastern Logar province, killing seven people, including a newly appointed chief prosecutor, before being shot dead by police.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the Supreme Court attack, which he blamed on the “enemies of our people.” The U.S. Embassy in Kabul called it “an attack on the very foundation of Afghan democracy and rule of law.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the suicide attack.

“Those behind today’s bombing and other such despicable acts must face justice,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at U.N. headquarters in New York. “Indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including employees of the judicial institutions, are violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and cannot be justified.”

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a roadside bomb killed a top district official in the western Farah province as he returned home from a mosque, local police spokesman Iqbal Baher said. The Taliban claimed the attack.

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