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Kabul Suicide Bombing Targets Supreme Court

At least 20 people, including women and children, have been killed in a suicide attack outside Afghanistan's Supreme Court building in Kabul, the Health Ministry says.

Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Majroh said at least 41 people were also wounded in the February 7 attack. Police later put the number at 48.

A suicide bomber on foot detonated his explosives as employees were boarding a bus to go home in the parking lot of the court compound, Interior Ministry spokesman Najibullah Danish said.

Police blocked off the road around the Supreme Court compound as panicked relatives of court employees gathered at the site, and ambulances and fire trucks arrived on the scene.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban have targeted the court previously. They killed 15 civilians with a suicide car bomb at the entrance to the compound in 2013.

Last month, twin Taliban attacks killed at least 30 people and wounded 80 outside a parliament annex in Kabul.

Also on February 7, officials said a roadside bombing killed a district administrative chief in the western province of Farah.

Police said Abdul Khaliq Noorzai, the top official in the Khak-e Safed district, died in the bombing near his home in the city of Farah, the provincial capital.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.

The recent upsurge in violence underscores growing insecurity in Afghanistan.

More than two years since the end of NATO's combat mission, and despite billions of dollars having been spent building up Afghanistan's army and police, local security forces are struggling against a resilient Taliban insurgency as well as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants.

On February 6, the United Nations said civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict last year were the highest recorded by the world body, with nearly 11,500 noncombatants -- one-third of them children -- killed or wounded.

Earlier this month an official U.S. watchdog said the death rate among Afghan troops and police soared last year as the government's overall control of the country declined significantly.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa