Sunday, February 28, 2021

Two Afghan women judges killed by gunmen

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Gunmen shot dead two Afghan women judges working for the Supreme Court during an early morning ambush in the country’s capital Sunday, officials said, as a wave of assassinations continues to rattle the nation.

The attack on the judges happened as they were traveling to their office in a court vehicle, Ahmad Fahim Qaweem, a spokesman for the court told AFP.

“Unfortunately, we have lost two women judges in today’s attack. Their driver is wounded,” Qaweem said.

“The vehicle was transporting the women judges to their office.”

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There are more than 200 female judges working for the country’s top court, the spokesman added.

Kabul police confirmed the attack.

“They were judges working for the Supreme Court,” said Jamshid Rasuli, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

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Surge in violence 

Violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent months, especially in Kabul where a new trend of targeted killings of high-profile figures has sown fear and chaos in the restive city.

The attack came just two days after the Pentagon announced it had cut troop levels in Afghanistan to 2,500, their lowest numbers during the nearly two decades of war.

Deadly violence has surged across the country in recent months, and a new trend of targeted killings has sowed fear, especially in Kabul.

Read more: No military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan: PM Khan

High-profile figures including journalists, politicians, and rights activists have increasingly been targeted despite peace talks between the government and Taliban.

The talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have been marred by an increase in violence from the start, but a new trend is a wave of high-profile targeted killings of officials, activists, and journalists.

The deputy governor for Kabul province, five journalists, and a prominent election activist have been among those assassinated in Kabul and other cities since November.

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Officials blame the Taliban for the mayhem, although the militant Islamic State group has claimed some of the assaults.

“The Taliban aim to divide the people and trigger criticism and frustration against the government’s security institutions with these assassinations,” Javid Faisal, an adviser to the National Security Council, told AFP.

“But the killings are uniting people.”

Nishank Motwani, deputy director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit think tank, said the Taliban would not formally claim responsibility for the political assassinations, but nevertheless wanted to demonstrate “to its cadre that the Taliban are who they are and have not changed”.

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