News / Asia

Early Morning Explosions Kill 17 in Afghan Capital

Sean Maroney

Afghan authorities say attackers struck in central Kabul early Friday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 32 others in a series of explosions and gunfire.  The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying five suicide bombers were involved.  This is the latest assault in Kabul since last month when Taliban insurgents carrying automatic weapons and wearing suicide vests attacked several heavily guarded Afghan government buildings. 


Residents in central Kabul say they awoke early Friday to loud explosions and sounds of sporadic gunfire.

Afghan police say the attacks occurred near a major shopping area and two guest houses that are frequented by foreigners.

In the aftermath of the violence, a plume of black smoke hung in the air and shards of glass littered the ground.

General Adbul Ghafar Sayedzada is the head of criminal investigation for the Kabul police.

He tells reporters that he believes the attackers' main target was the Hamid Guesthouse where Indian citizens frequently stay.

He says the first car bomb took place in front of that building.  Then several suicide bombers entered the nearby Park Residence guest house and exploded.

One survivor of the attack said he was an Indian embassy employee.

He says it was early in the morning when the gunfire started in the guest house and that he, along with the other residents, locked their doors and stayed hidden in their rooms.

Subod Sanjirpal is an Indian doctor who was wounded in the attack.

"I [was] confined in my bathroom at least three hours when firing [was] going on, first car bomb got exploded, then full roof came on my head," said Subod Sanjirpal.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks and offered his "deep sympathies and condolences" to India.

This is not the first time Indian citizens have been the targets of insurgent attacks.

Late last year, a car bomb exploded outside India's diplomatic compound in Kabul, wounding several people.  In mid-2008, a similar bombing left dozens of people dead, including two Indian diplomats.

India contributes substantial aid to Afghanistan, totaling more than $1 billion.  Most of that goes to building roads, electrical power plants and providing health care.

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