U.N. denounces Taliban attacks on Afghan officials

After a deadly attack by the Taliban against government officials in the south-western province of Farah, the U.N. condemned the actions and reaffirmed the need for all parties to protect civilians.

41 people were killed in the April 3 attack. The majority of the victims were government officials, including two judges and six prosecutors. Over a 100 additional people were injured in the deadliest attack against Afghan civilians since December 2011.

"The United Nations again calls on the Taliban to follow through on their previous public commitments to protect civilians," Jan Kubis, the Secretary-General's special representative for Afghanistan, said.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan also gave its condolences to the victims of the attacks and their families.

The attack was reportedly aimed at freeing 15 Taliban prisoners who were being transferred to the courthouse for trial. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said they intended to target civilians who worked in the courts and prosecutors' offices.

"International humanitarian law defines civilians as all those who do not take a direct part in hostilities and who are not combatants - such as civilian Government employees," UNAMA officials said. "Attacks against civilians are prohibited at all times and may amount to war crimes."