(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The Taliban returned to their killing ways with a vengeance on Wednesday, attacking a courtroom in western Afghanistan's Farah province and leaving more than 50 dead.
It was the first major spring offensive for the group that seeks to resume control of the country, and the bloodiest single assault since December 2011, when 80 people were killed by a bombing at a shrine in Kabul, the nation's capital.
Witnesses said 10 Taliban members who were on trial wound up being freed after nine suicide bombers dressed in Afghan army uniforms penetrated security at the governor's compound where the courtroom is located.
Following the explosions, the militants engaged in a long gun battle with Afghan security forces.
Local authorities said 34 civilians were among the dead. The assault left over 100 people wounded.
The incident once again raised concerns about whether Afghan security forces are up to the task of defending their country's interests as U.S. and coalition allies pull back into more of a supportive role in the run-up to the eventual withdrawal of all foreign troops sometime in 2014.
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