KABUL (Reuters) – Unidentified gunmen killed two female judges from Afghanistan’s Supreme Court on Sunday morning, police said, adding to a wave of assassinations in Kabul and other cities while government and Taliban representatives have been holding peace talks in Qatar.
The two judges, who have not yet been named, were killed and their driver wounded, in an attack at around 8:30 am, police said, adding the case was being investigated by security forces.
A spokesman for the Taliban said its fighters were not involved.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning attacks on civilians by the Taliban and other militant groups.
Ghani said “terror, horror and crime” was not a solution to Afghanistan’s problem and beseeched the Taliban to accept “a permanent ceasefire”.
Government officials, journalists, and activists have been targeted in recent months, stoking fear particularly in the capital Kabul.
The Taliban has denied involvement in some of the attacks, but has said its fighters would continue to “eliminate” important government figures, though not journalists or civil society members.
Rising violence has complicated U.S.-brokered peace talks taking place in Doha as Washington withdraws troops.
Sources on both sides say negotiations are only likely to make substantive progress once U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office and makes his Afghan policy known.
The number of U.S troops in Afghanistan has been reduced to 2,500, the lowest level of American forces there since 2001, according to the Pentagon on Friday.
Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore