Afghan officials say a senior official of the country's Supreme Court has been shot and killed by armed men in the capital, Kabul.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed Atiqullah Rawoofi, the head of the secretariat of Afghanistan's Supreme Court.

Farid Afzali, chief of Kabul police's criminal investigation unit, said the attack occurred early on Saturday morning near Rawoofi's home in a northwestern Kabul neighbourhood.

A colleague of Rawoofi, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said two men on a motorbike shot Rawoofi as he was walking from his home to his car.

Later on Saturday police told Reuters news agency at least 12 demining workers had been killed and six others wounded in Helmand province.

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The deminers, who lived at the Shorab base, were travelling to work when they were attacked in Nad Ali district, according to Ghulam Farouk Parwani, the base's military commander.

The assailants were later engaged by Afghan army and air force soldiers, who killed four and captured three, he said.

The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.

The Taliban has intensified attacks in the run-up to the withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

On Friday night an attack on a convoy in eastern Afghanistan left two US soldiers dead, AP news agency reported.

On Thursday seven people were killed in two suicide attacks in Kabul, including one targeting a play at a French-financed high school.

It came just hours after another suicide attack on a bus carrying Afghan troops in Kabul's suburbs killed six soldiers.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, claimed both bombings in separate email statements, saying the theatre show was "desecrating Islamic values" and "propaganda against jihad".

The UN Security Council issued a unanimous statement condemning the attacks which also voiced "serious concern at the threats posed by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorist and extremist groups, and illegal armed groups".

Source: Agencies