News / Asia

Gunbattle Erupts in Afghan Capital

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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid