KUNDUZ Afghanistan (Reuters) - At least seven people were killed in Afghanistan on Monday when a group of Taliban militants attacked a court in the northern city of Kunduz, officials and police said.
Kunduz has long been a relatively peaceful city compared to other Afghan towns but in recent months the Taliban have been gaining ground across the province, taking advantage of a security gap left by the withdrawing NATO-led forces.
A suicide bomber detonated his car loaded with explosives at the main gate of an appeals court and three more fighters entered the building, engaging in a protracted gun battle with security forces, one local official said.
Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for the Kunduz police chief, said seven people had been killed and 10 wounded in the attack.
“Six prosecutors and a policeman were killed and nine prosecutors and a policeman were wounded,” Hussaini said.
“Now the fight is over. One Taliban fighter detonated his car loaded with explosives and three were killed by security forces.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack. It was not immediately clear why the Taliban had targeted the appeals court.
The atmosphere is tense in Afghanistan as foreign troops leave the country after more than a decade of fighting against the Taliban, handing over security to relatively inexperienced Afghan forces and an inefficient government.
Explosions were also heard around the capital Kabul on Monday evening, with police saying they were rocket attacks. No casualties were reported.
Reporting by Folad Hamdard in Kunduz and Mirwais Harooni in Kabul; Writing by Maria Golovnina in Islamabad; Editing by Catherine Evans