[JURIST] Three Taliban gunmen on Sunday attacked a court building in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven people including a newly appointed chief prosecutor. Authorities state [AP report] that 21 others were injured in the attack before the gunmen were shot dead by policemen. The attack follows an incident last week when four disguised Taliban gunmen attacked another court building in the eastern Ghazni province. Recent attacks have been perceived as a war against judicial officials incited by the execution of six convicted insurgents last month. In light of these attacks, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] has stressed the importance of securing judicial institutions and protecting judicial officials and civilians.
Civilian casualties continue to be a primary issue in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. In February UNAMA reported [JURIST report] that civilian casualties in Afghanistan had reached a record high 11,000 in 2015. In November the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] and Pentagon officials completed their investigation [JURIST report] into the October 3 bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) [advocacy website] hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and announced [statement] that it was an “avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.” In October MSF called for an independent investigation [JURIST report] into the attack by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. Also in October the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an investigation [JURIST report] into the Kunduz hospital attack and for the results of an investigation to be made public. Several days prior to the hospital attack, the UN rights leader also requested that all parties in the Taliban attack in Kunduz attempt to keep civilians out of harm [JURIST report]. In August the UN said that a new report shows a significant increase in the number of women and children being hurt or killed [JURIST report] in Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban and other insurgents. In June the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, stated that the hostilities in Afghanistan are leading to the killing and wounding of thousands [JURIST report] and the forced relocation of families into neighboring countries.