Deadly standoff with Afghan insurgents ends in Kabul

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

[PHOTO: Swarm/CC BY- SA 3.0]

Kabul: A shoot-out with insurgents at Kabul's traffic-police headquarters has come to an end.

Afghan authorities told RFE/RL that five insurgents were involved in the deadly attack.

The fighting followed a coordinated assault involving a suicide car bombing and insurgents with suicide-bombing vests.

Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Abdurrahman Rahman said three insurgents entered the building, destroyed stairs leading to upper floors, and gained access to a weapons storeroom.

After hours of fighting, security forces killed the militants barricaded inside the building. Rahman told reporters that three traffic-police officers were killed and 18 people were wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message to the media.

The four-story traffic-police department is located in the west of the capital near several key police units and the parliament building.

"I was asleep when the explosion happened," said Qandagha Jan, a Kabul resident.

"The explosion was so huge that all the windows of our house broke. Our children were playing in the yard at the time."

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman Guenter Katz noted that militants increasingly target Afghan security forces as the country prepares for the planned withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of  2014.

"The last two attacks we have seen were indeed against Afghan government installations. [Whether] this is a trend, we don't know," Katz said.

"This would be speculation, but it's very clear that the more and more the Afghan security forces are getting into the lead, the more they are targeted by the insurgents."

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on January 21, Katz said ISAF will continue to train, assist, and advise the Afghan security forces.

Last week, a squad of six suicide bombers attacked the Afghan intelligence agency headquarters in central Kabul.

That attack followed a failed assassination attempt on the intelligence agency chief, Asadullah Khalid.

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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