News / Asia

Afghan President Orders Security Review in Kabul

Mr. Karzai's order comes just one day after after a Taliban assault left at least five people dead and more than 70 wounded

Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered a review of security in Kabul Tuesday, a day after a Taliban assault left at least five people dead and more than 70 wounded.

Mr. Karzai ordered the review after meeting with government ministers and security officials to discuss the attack.

Afghan security forces are on high alert.  They have tightened security in Kabul and are searching vehicles as they enter the city. 

Deputy Police Chief Mohammad Khalil Dastyar said troops also increased the number of checkpoints in the city, along with both foot and vehicle patrols. 

Afghan intelligence service chief Amrullah Saleh said seven attackers carrying automatic weapons and wearing suicide vests struck during morning rush hour Monday, triggering fierce gun battles with police.  

At least three security force members and one child are among those killed. Investigators say the seven attackers were killed in clashes with law enforcement officials.

Officials say the attackers' plan was to try to seize key ministries and to storm the presidential palace, but that they failed to do so.

Officials say President Karzai was swearing in new members of his Cabinet when the violence broke out.  After Tuesday's meeting, the president also ordered government administrators to make plans to provide assistance to the families of those killed and wounded as well as shop owners who suffered property damage.

Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the assault, saying 20 of their fighters took part in the attack.

The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, had left Kabul hours earlier for a visit to New Delhi.  He condemned the attacks.  He said it is not surprising the Taliban would do this sort of thing, because its members are desperate, ruthless people. 

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says it is unlikely that Taliban leaders will be willing to reconcile with Afghanistan's government. Gates commented to reporters Monday while en route to India.

Elsewhere, coalition forces say two U.S. service members were killed by an explosion Tuesday in southern Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters..

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