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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
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 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 ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid