An apparent Taliban suicide bomber has killed more than a dozen people in an attack at the supreme court in Kabul. This comes a day after a major insurgent attack on the Afghan capital's airport.
Seventeen people were killed and 39 injured in the attack on Tuesday, Afghan police said. The explosion targeted minibuses carrying court staff home from work.
"The bomber rammed his car into buses carrying supreme court employees," Dawood Amin, the deputy police chief of Kabul, told the DPA news agency.
Women and children were reportedly among the victims.
The supreme court is approximately 200 meters (656 feet) from the US Embassy, leading to initial confusion over the intended target. However, the embassy gates are not close to the embassy building itself or the nearby NATO headquarters.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they'd delivered a blow to "cruel judges" who obey western powers.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai called the violence another "terrorist act that once again shows the Taliban are serving the enemies of Islam."
It was the second major attack in the city in two days. On Monday, seven Taliban militants including suicide bombers attacked Kabul's main airport. The seven attackers were the only fatalities in the violence.
The two attacks are symptomatic of the unstable state of the country's security apparatus ahead of the scheduled withdrawal of US-led coalition forces at the end of next year.
The Taliban have frequently tested Afghan security forces as part of their declared spring campaign.
"We can expect high profile attacks, we can expect insider threats and we can expect maybe some assassinations," German General Günter Katz, spokesman for the US-led International Security Assistance Force, said on Monday.
"We adapt our security measures appropriately, we assess the security situation on a permanent basis and we remain very vigilant," he said
Tuesday's attack was the deadliest in Kabul since May 16, when a suicide car bomb hit a foreign military convoy, killing 15 people including five Americans.
The United Nations has recorded 2,499 civilian causalties in the country between January and June of this year. The organization attributes 74 percent of the victims to anti-government forces and nine percent to pro-government forces.
Some 21 percent of all civilians killed or wounded in that period were children, the UN said.
dr/pfd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)