KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack on a courthouse ceremony in eastern Afghanistan that killed a newly appointed prosecutor and several others on Sunday.

The attack began about 10:30 a.m. at an appellate courthouse in Logar province, when two gunmen in military uniforms began shooting during an event to introduce prosecutor Akram Nejat, said Salim Saleh, spokesman for the provincial governor.

There were conflicting reports on the number of victims in the attack, which occurred in Pul-e-Alam, the provincial capital, about 40 miles south of Kabul.

Saleh said the assailants killed five people in addition to the prosecutor and wounded 19 others. He said that the two gunmen involved in the attack were shot and killed by Afghan security forces. But an officer with the Logar provincial police, who declined to be named, said there were three attackers. He said the attack killed seven people and injured 23 others.

In a statement condemning the incident, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said a juvenile prosecutor was also among those killed and that at least three judges and another prosecutor were wounded.

Government officials are often the targets of Taliban attacks, and the group has carried out retaliatory attacks on the judiciary since the government executed six convicted insurgents last month.

Sunday’s attack is at least the third strike on the court system since the Taliban selected the former head of their shadow courts to succeed Mullah Akhtar Mansour as supreme leader less than two weeks ago. Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike in a remote area of Pakistan last month.

The day the group named Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada as his successor, a suicide bomber attacked a vehicle in Kabul transporting court employees from the Afghan capital to neighboring Wardak province. At least 11 people were killed and 10 others wounded.

Last week, the Taliban took responsibility for an attack in which four men disguised in burqas with military uniforms underneath stormed a courthouse in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul. The raid killed six and wounded 13 others, including a judge.

Such attacks have grown more severe and more frequent, the U.N. Assistance Mission said. So far this year, the United Nations has verified 18 attacks targeting judges, prosecutors and judicial staff, which have killed 32 civilians and wounded 67 others. Of these, the Taliban took credit for 11 attacks.

In a security advisory to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned personnel to avoid the area of the appellate court until further notice.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

garland.chad@stripes.comTwitter: @chadgarland

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Chad is a Marine Corps veteran who covers the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and sometimes elsewhere for Stars and Stripes. An Illinois native who’s reported for news outlets in Washington, D.C., Arizona, Oregon and California, he’s an alumnus of the Defense Language Institute, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Arizona State University.

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