NATO condemns Afghan court attack

NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday strongly condemned a Taliban attack on a courthouse in Afghanistan which left more than 40 people dead and stressed its continued support for Kabul.

"I strongly condemn yesterday's brutal attack on the courthouse in Farah Province," Rasmussen said in a statement issued from NATO headquarters in Brussels.

"We stand with the Afghan leadership in strongly condemning this indiscriminate assault, which killed many Afghan civilians," he said, adding that "there can be no justification for such an act."

In Afghanistan, officials said Taliban gunmen who killed 46 people in the attack, went from room to room, shooting anyone found as they looked to free other insurgents facing trial.

The killings in the remote western province of Farah raised new fears about Taliban strength and intentions as NATO hands over security to Afghan government forces ahead of its withdrawal from the country in 2014.

Rasmussen has insisted repeatedly that the NATO mission "remains on track" and said Thursday the US-led military alliance "will continue to support the Afghan authorities as they take responsibility for their country's security."

The attack in Farah, which borders Iran, was the deadliest for more than a year and stoked fears the insurgents might be spreading their range of operations, with most fighting up to now concentrated in the south and east.

Meanwhile, a NATO air strike aimed at insurgents in the eastern province of Ghazni on Thursday killed four local police and two civilians, Afghan officials said.

A spokesman for the US-led NATO force in Kabul told AFP that the military was checking the information.