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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid