At least eight killed in militant attack on Afghan court

Taliban insurgents claim responsibility for assault in central part of Mazar-i-Sharif

A member of the Afghan security forces carries a woman away  from the site of an attack on a court in Mazar-i-Sharif, April 9th, 2015. Militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons stormed the court in the northern Afghanistan  city, killing the district police chief and two other officers, authorities said. Photograph: Anil Usyan/Reuters

A member of the Afghan security forces carries a woman away from the site of an attack on a court in Mazar-i-Sharif, April 9th, 2015. Militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons stormed the court in the northern Afghanistan city, killing the district police chief and two other officers, authorities said. Photograph: Anil Usyan/Reuters

 

Militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons stormed a court in Afghanistan’s northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Thursday and killed at least eight people including the district police chief, authorities said.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack, in which at least 60 others were wounded.

The insurgents have increased assaults on government targets following the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops last year.

The raid started mid-morning when a group of fighters stormed the court and clashed with security forces. The battle continued for two hours and by late afternoon was still going on.

Provincial capital

The court is located in a central part of Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital of Balkh, close to the governor’s office and other government buildings.

The district police chief was killed along with two other police, according to a statement from the provincial governor’s office.

At least eight people were killed and 60 were wounded in the attack, which finally ended early in the evening, said deputy minister of interior Ayoub Salangi in a statement.

The Ministry of Interior said that dozens of people, including the court’s chief prosecutor, were rescued by police during the battle.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the attack on his official Twitter account.

The insurgents are fighting to topple Afghanistan’s US-backed government more than 13 years after their hardline Islamist regime was toppled by a US-led military intervention launched due to the sheltering of al-Qaeda leaders.

Reuters