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Seven killed as Taliban gunmen storm Afghan courthouse

Gorkha Post

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KABUL — Taliban gunmen have raged a court complex in a city south of Kabul, killing at least seven individuals in the insurgents’ third so-called “revenge” attack for last month’s execution of Taliban-linked prisoners.

The attack in Pul-i-Alam, capital of volatile Logar province, also left 23 prosecutors injured as they met to decide the fate of six newly arrested Taliban militants.

The head of the court Mohammad Akram Nejat was among those killed in the attack, which comes as the Taliban step up their annual spring offensive after naming a new leader late last month.

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

“Unfortunately seven people were killed, including Mohammad Akram Nejat, the newly appointed head of the court.”

Hasib Stanakzai, a member of Logar’s provincial council, confirmed the death toll.

The Taliban said the attack was in retaliation for the execution of six Taliban-linked inmates in early May, part of President Ashraf Ghani’s new hardline policy against the insurgents.

“The martyrdom attack was carried out in revenge for the execution of our mujahideen,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a politician was killed by an explosive device at his home in Kabul, though no group claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The explosive that had been planted in front of the house of lawmaker Sher Wali Wardak martyred him, injuring 11 others,” Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter.

The latest violence underscores Afghanistan’s fragile security situation as the Taliban intensify attacks against the Western-backed Government.

AFP

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Magnitude 8.2 quake rattles Fiji

Thompson Reuters

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A massive quake of magnitude 8.2 struck in the Pacific Ocean close to Fiji and Tonga on Sunday but it was so deep that it was not expected to cause any damage, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The US Tsunami Warning Center also said the quake was too deep to cause a tsunami.

The quake was 347.7 miles (560 km) below the Earth which would have dampened the shaking at the surface.

“I would not expect any damage. People will feel it but it’s so deep that I would not expect any damage,” USGS geophysicist Jana Pursley said by telephone.

The quake was initially reported as a magnitude 8.0 and then upgraded to 8.2, a magnitude that could cause tremendous damage had it not been so deep.

The epicenter was located 167 miles (270 km) east of Levuka in Fiji and 275 miles (443 km) west of Neiafu in Tonga.

The area is located on the earthquake-prone Ring of Fire.

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