Taliban ambush kills 7 in country’s north

The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA Nicholas Haysom

This attack was the third on court facilities since the group’s members were executed by the government.

Afghan member of parliament Sher Wali Wardak died after an improvised device exploded in front of his Kabul residence late on Sunday, the interior ministry said.

The attack happened in Puli Alam, the capital of Logar province.

“Three gunmen wearing police uniform entered the court building and started shooting people”, provincial governor Mohammad Halim Fedayee told Agence France Presse.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack was in revenge for the execution of six Taliban prisoners last month by Afghanistan’s government.

An Afghan official says a Taliban ambush has killed at least 7 people, including a district intelligence chief and his deputy.

The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, an independent think tank based in Kabul, said in a recent report that there are up to 10,000 mines “outside of government control and subject to looting”, the Associated Press reported.

“Judicial officials and other civilians can never be considered combatants and thus should not be targeted”, the United Nations envoy stressed.

In a statement, Haysom urged senior Afghan authorities to do everything in their power to ensure adequate protection for judicial officials and other civilians seeking access to judicial institutions.

Afghanistan’s mineral and petrochemical assets are believed to be worth billions of dollars, but the government does not have the money or expertise to develop them, and global firms are deterred by the security situation, which is deteriorating.

The report says the government lost at least $17.5 million in revenue from lapis lazuli in 2014 and $10 million in 2015.

Observers say Akhundzada, who is seen as more of a spiritual figurehead than a military commander, will emulate Mansour in shunning peace talks and intensifying attacks against the Afghan government.

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