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Afghan justice ministry attacked by Taliban

[JURIST] Taliban [JURIST news archive] insurgents on Wednesday targeted the Afghan Ministry of Justice [official website], the Prisons Directorate and other government buildings in coordinated attacks in the capital city of Kabul. Early estimates reported 28 killed and more than 60 injured. At least five gunmen stormed the Justice Ministry, several outfitted with explosive devices that apparently did not detonate. A Taliban spokesperson reportedly confirmed that 16 insurgents had been deployed [AFP report] to the city in response to the alleged mistreatment of Taliban prisoners. At least eight attackers, including two suicide bombers, were killed. The attacks came one day before the scheduled visit [DOS press release] of US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke [appointment transcript], an information-gathering trip set to focus on expanding security in Afghanistan.

Although this is the first major Taliban attack on the Justice Ministry building, judges and detention have previously been targeted. In September, Central Narcotics Tribunal Appeals Court Judge Alim Hanif was killed in Kabul [UPI report]. In early August, a judge in southern Helmand province [AFP report] and the chief judge of Khost province [VOA report] were shot and killed by unidentified gunmen said to be connected to the Taliban. In June, approximately 870 inmates escaped [JURIST report] from the main prison in Kandahar City in southern Afghanistan when members of the Taliban conducted a bomb and rocket attack on the facility.

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