A blast outside Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in Kabul killed or wounded more than 10 people, police said, the second militant strike in the city in two days.
The device was detonated at the entrance gate to the building as court staff left for home, General Mohammad Zahir, head of Kabul police’s Criminal Investigation Department, said in a phone interview. It was unclear if the bomb was carried by a suicide attacker or had been planted at the scene, he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The explosion follows an attack yesterday during which heavily armed insurgents took control of buildings at the edge of the international airport, forcing an hours-long shutdown of the facility. At least seven gunmen were killed by security forces in the ensuing gun battle.
Hostilities by the Taliban and other insurgents have escalated in recent weeks, testing the ability of Afghanistan’s police and army amid a withdraw of international forces.
President Barack Obama has said a bulk of the 66,000 U.S. forces now in Afghanistan will return home by the end of 2014, after which a smaller number of troops may continue to train and advise Afghan forces and carry out counter-terrorism operations. While he hasn’t yet said how many U.S. troops will remain after 2014, the U.S. has indicated that about 8,000 to 12,000 allied troops are likely to stay.
Today’s blast struck near to the U.S. embassy. Police took the wounded to hospital as Afghan security forces cordoned off the scene, the local Tolo television channel showed.
To contact the reporter on this story: Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at email@example.com