Taliban accused as two female Afghan judges are shot dead in central Kabul


Two female Supreme Court judges were shot dead by gunmen in Kabul on Sunday, amid a spate of targeted assassinations that have sent shockwaves across Afghanistan.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Farmarz said the women were being driven to their office in a court vehicle in central Kabul when gunmen on a motorbike opened fire, killing both of them and wounding their driver.

The attack took place days after the killing of three female officers in the northern Balk province. In the past three months, a number of journalists and civil and military officials have also died in targeted killings.

Afghanistan’s Supreme Court was a target in February 2017 when a suicide bomb ripped through a crowd of court employees, killing at least 20 and wounding 41.

No group admitted carrying out Sunday’s attack, but President Ashraf Ghani blamed the Taliban. “Attacks by the Taliban and other terrorist groups against defenseless people is against Islamic teaching and against the spirit of peace,” he said.

Ross Wilson, the US charge d’affaires in Kabul, also blamed the Taliban and called for an investigation. “The Taliban should understand that such actions for which it bears responsibility outrage the world and must cease if peace is to come to Afghanistan,” he said.

The latest attack came just two days after the Pentagon announced it had cut troop levels in Afghanistan to 2,500, the fewest in nearly two decades.

Increased violence in Afghanistan also coincides with US-sponsored peace talks in Doha, Qatar, between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Government officials and the US military have often accused the Taliban of being behind most of the attacks, charges that the Taliban deny.

Two sources have told Arab News that several victims of recent assassinations were officials probing corruption in the government.

The recent spate of assassinations, especially targeting women, has been a shock to Afghans.

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