News / Asia

Afghan Forces Repel Taliban Attack Near Presidential Palace

Afghan security forces near entrance gate of presidential palace in Kabul, June 25, 2013.
Afghan security forces near entrance gate of presidential palace in Kabul, June 25, 2013.
Sharon Behn
— Afghan forces on Tuesday repelled an early morning Taliban attack on an entrance to the Presidential Palace compound, killing all of the militants involved.  The attack took place as a U.S. envoy was in the Afghan capital to push along peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
 
Witnesses say explosions and gunfire erupted around the palace in central Kabul as militants tried to enter the fortified complex housing the presidential palace, the Afghan Defense Ministry, the U.S. Embassy and a former hotel apparently used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
 
News reporters had been called to the palace for a press briefing on the status of peace talks with the Taliban.
 
Kabul police chief General Mohammed Ayoub Salangi said the attackers, dressed in uniform and carrying false identification papers, had made it past some initial checkpoints. They then tried to drive into one of the gates to the highly-secured compound.
 
“A Land Cruiser car using fake ID came to the gate," he said. "While the guards were asking them to show the ID, two to three people came out from the car, and the car exploded. The guards killed all the attackers. The situation is now under control.”
 
Officials later said two vehicles full of explosives were involved in the attack but that neither got close to the presidential palace. At least two Afghan security guards died.
 
It was not clear where President Hamid Karzai was at the time of the blast, but officials said he was safe.
 
The Taliban sent messages to local reporters claiming responsibility for the attack. The militants claimed to have “brought death to the enemy” and said that eight of their fighters had died in the attack.
 
U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham condemned the attack in a statement. He said the outcome demonstrated the futility of the Taliban's efforts to use violence to achieve their goals, and called on the militant group to talk to the Afghan government on peace and reconciliation.
 
The Taliban have carried out a number of attacks across the country this year despite efforts to start peace talks with the militant group.

Hamid Farooqi, a professor and former Karzai cabinet minister, said both the government forces and the militants were ramping up their fight in an effort to gain the upper hand before they sit down at the table to talk peace.
 
“I think both sides are trying to get some more ground on the field, try to get a higher advantage on their peace negotiation. That is what I believe is happening on both sides.”
 
According to the United Nations, civilian casualties in the country are up 24 percent over the same period last year, an estimated 75 percent of which are due to violent conflict.
 
Tuesday’s explosion came as U.S. envoy James Dobbins was leaving Kabul after talks with Karzai on how to push forward reconciliation talks between the Afghan leadership and the Taliban. Dobbins arrived in neighboring Pakistan later Tuesday, where he was expected to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
 
Expected talks on ending 12 years of war with the militant group in Doha, Qatar, fell apart when the Taliban hoisted the flag under which they ruled Afghanistan for five years, causing Kabul to boycott.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 25, 2013 8:52 PM
If Taliban can transport two vehicles full of explosives, what the heck was done by the multitude of check points in Kabul operated by the Afghan army. If Taliban can explode two vehicles full of explosives in the outer perimeter of the Presidential Palace and the CIA headquarters in the heart of Kabul, who is safe in Afghanistan?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid