Massive Taliban terror attack in Kabul; NATO missions targeted
In one of the daring Taliban terror attacks in Afghanistan, gunmen launched multiple attacks in the capital Kabul on Sunday afternoon, assaulting Western embassies in the heavily guarded, central diplomatic area and at the Parliament in the west, TV channels reported.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying their main targets were the US, German and British embassies and the headquarters of Afghanistan's NATO-led force, besides the Russian mission. Tv shots showed people taking cover as security forces countered gunmen, some of whom had reportedly taken shelter in a hotel.
Taliban fighers had also launched assaults in two provinces, a spokesman for the insurgents said. "We claim responsibility for these attacks," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade into a house used by British diplomats in the city centre and smoke billowed from the building after the blast, a Reuters witness said. Two rockets hit a British Embassy guard tower near the Reuters office in the city. Three others hit a supermarket near the German Embassy popular with foreigners, witnesses said. Women scurried for cover as crackling gunfire was heard above.
As the gunfire continued, US army convoys could be seen coming to the area accompanied by Afghan police in flak jackets. There was no word on any casualties. The coordinated attack is bound to intensify worry in the run-up to the planned withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
Afghan security forces, responsible for the safety of the capital, were scrambling to reinforce areas around the green diplomatic section of the city centre. Gunfire came from various directions in the area, close to both the US and British embassies, while smoke billowed from the nearby German embassy, the witnesses said. Embassy alarms were sounding. Attackers also fired rockets at the parliament building, in the west of the city, and at the Russian embassy, a spokesman for the parliament said.
Afghan media said insurgents had stormed the Star Hotel complex near the Presidential palace and the Iranian embassy, and black smoke was billowing from the building.
- Asian Tribune -