KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan forces exchanged gunfire on Wednesday with attackers who set off a automobile bomb and burst into the compound of a global support group in Kabul, the most recent brazen assault by Taliban insurgents whilst they maintain peace talks.
Smoke rises from the location of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan Could 8, 2019, on this nonetheless picture taken from a video obtained by social media. REUTERS
A minimum of two dozen folks have been injured within the violence engulfing an workplace of non-profit Counterpart Worldwide, which is basically funded by the U.S. authorities, nevertheless it was not instantly clear if foreigners have been amongst them.
Inside ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi stated the attackers have been nonetheless placing up resistance from a constructing the place that they had holed up, though lots of of individuals, together with group staff who had been trapped inside, have been rescued.
“Two flooring of the constructing have been cleared and to keep away from civilian casualties, the operation is being undertaken with warning,” he added.
A number of loud explosions and bursts of gunfire rocked the realm after it was surrounded by particular forces, backed by advisers from overseas forces, attempting to flush out the attackers.
Authorities cordoned off the location within the capital’s upscale Shahr Naw space, dispatching ambulances and police vehicles.
“My household is caught in our home near the location and they’re terrified,” stated a authorities worker, Naqibullah.
Amanullah Rahim, an eyewitness, stated, “I used to be in my store once I heard an enormous explosion that shattered all of the home windows and broken all the pieces. I ran away and thank God I’m not damage.”
A minimum of 9 injured folks have been taken to hospital, stated a well being ministry spokesman, Wahidullah Mayar, whereas officers on the metropolis’s Emergency Hospital stated that they had acquired 15 wounded.
Officers of Counterpart, which has operated in Afghanistan since 2005, weren’t instantly obtainable to remark.
Taliban militants claimed duty for the assault on the third day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with a spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, calling the group a U.S. community concerned in dangerous Western actions in Afghanistan.
The assault may undermine a sixth spherical of peace talks between U.S. and Taliban representatives in Qatar searching for negotiations to finish the practically 18-year-long battle.
It comes after the Taliban refused a suggestion by President Ashraf Ghani for a ceasefire from the primary day of Ramadan.
“The Taliban should reply positively to the peace demand of the Afghan folks, in any other case, they are going to be suppressed by our heroic and courageous safety forces,” Ghani stated in a press release condemning Wednesday’s assault as un-Islamic.
U.S. Ambassador to Kabul John Bass additionally condemned the assault, saying the help group helped native communities, skilled journalists and supported the Afghan folks.
Taliban spokesman Mujahid stated the help group labored carefully with authorities departments selling girls, an effort opposed by the hardline Islamist group.
Earlier than being toppled by U.S. and Afghan forces in late 2001, Afghanistan’s harsh Taliban regime barred girls from working exterior their houses, and required them to be accompanied by a male family member.
Regardless of stepping up safety round Kabul, Afghan authorities have failed to discourage lethal assaults which have undermined confidence within the authorities.
Simply over two weeks in the past, gunmen focused the communications ministry in Kabul, killing a minimum of seven folks in an assault claimed by Islamic State.
Writing by Hamid Shalizi, Rupam Jain, Modifying by Clarence Fernandez