News / Asia

Gunbattle Erupts in Afghan Capital

TEXT SIZE - +

A Taliban assault targeting several government buildings in Kabul has left at least five people, two civilians and three security personnel dead and more than 70 wounded.  Afghan officials say security forces killed all the seven attackers.  Taliban extremists claim to have launched the well-coordinated assault.  

Authorities say Taliban insurgents carrying automatic weapons and wearing suicide vests attacked several heavily guarded official buildings in the center of the Afghan capital.

Their plan apparently was to try to seize key ministries and to storm the presidential palace.  But senior Afghan officials say the militants failed to do so because security personnel deployed in the area instantly detected and killed one of the suicide bombers.  The rest of the attackers then took shelter in the nearby shopping center..

Afghan security forces quickly surrounded the commercial buildings and a four-hour gunfight began.  When it ended, a written statement from President Hamid Karzai announced the security situation was under control and order had been restored to the city.  He condemned the attacks and ordered authorities to enhance security in the capital.

Giving details of the incident at a news conference, Afghanistan intelligence service chief Amrullah Saleh said seven armed men took part in the attack and all of them were killed by the Afghan security forces.  He praised security forces for preventing what could have been a major disaster.
 
"By sacrificing their lives, our fallen colleagues and those who bravely stood against these terrorists and sustained injuries, they managed to save lives of ... (Afghan) civilians," Saleh said. "Today's attack was in no way a success for the enemy.  They cannot claim credit for entering into a shopping mall and just blindly shooting at the civilians."

The intelligence chief would not comment on reports the attackers had come from neighboring Pakistan.  U.S and Afghan officials believe the Haqqani network of Afghan militants has set up its bases in the tribal region of Pakistan to train and launch cross-border suicide missions.   

"We do not want to speculate," Saleh said. "Once we are able to show you the evidence of who they were and where they were trained and what they were planning.  What I promise to you, like other incidents in the past, we will produce you soon the evidence and most likely the remaining part of the cell and you will see who they are."

Taliban insurgents are reported to have claimed responsibility for the assault, saying 20 of their fighters took part in the attacks and the presidential palace was one of their targets.  Officials say President Karzai was swearing in new members of his Cabinet when the violence broke out.

The attack is said to be the worst such incident in Kabul within the past year.  In October, armed men with suicide vests raided a United Nations-run guest house in the city, killing at least 11 people.

The violence comes as President Karzai is preparing to take party in an international conference on the future of Afghanistan later this month (January 28) in London.   Officials say the Afghan leader plans to announce a new initiative to encourage Taliban fighters to lay down their arms.    

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid