Taleban claims multiple attacks in Afghan capital

The site of a blast and gunfire between the Taleban and Afghan forces in Police District 6, in Kabul, yesterday. One militant was barricaded inside the police HQ there.
The site of a blast and gunfire between the Taleban and Afghan forces in Police District 6, in Kabul, yesterday. One militant was barricaded inside the police HQ there.PHOTO: REUTERS

It says it hit police, military and intelligence targets in Kabul

KABUL • Afghan Taleban militants said they attacked police, military and intelligence targets in Kabul yesterday. Security officials confirmed attacks in at least two areas of the city.

A resounding explosion was heard across the city, followed immediately by gunfire between security forces and an unknown number of attackers in the west of Kabul.

The fighting was concentrated near a district police HQ located not far from a military training school, according to one police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media. A security official said one attacker was barricaded inside the building.

A separate attack appeared to have targeted an office of the country's intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security (NDS), on the eastern outskirts of Kabul. But a senior army official said that attack appeared to have been quickly suppressed. "Two terrorists entered a building. One blew himself up and the second was shot by Afghan security forces," said Mr Abdul Nasir Ziaee, commander of 111th corps, based in the east of the city.

"There were two attacks in Kabul today," Interior Ministry spokesman Najibullah Danish told Agence France-Presse. "There are casualties from the first attack and we also have reports of gunfights, but at this stage we cannot confirm whether it is a complex attack."

The Taleban, which sometimes exaggerates the impact of its operations, said the attacks had caused heavy casualties.

An official from the Ministry of Public Health said one person had been killed in the attack on the NDS office, while at least 35 people had been wounded and transferred to the hospital in the attack on the police HQ in western Kabul.

Last month, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people outside the Supreme Court in Kabul. Militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria claimed that attack.

The Taleban is seeking to expel foreign troops, defeat the United States-backed government and reimpose Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.

The attacks yesterday come shortly ahead of the period when the Taleban usually announces a spring offensive, and underlines warnings from Afghan officials that they faced a difficult year. Repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taleban have failed and an intense new fighting season is expected to kick off in the spring.

Government forces have struggled to control the Taleban insurgency since the coalition led by Nato ended its combat mission in 2014. According to US estimates, Afghan government forces now control less than 60 per cent of the country although they have managed to hold on to all of the main provincial centres.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'Taleban claims multiple attacks in Afghan capital'. Print Edition | Subscribe