Co-ordinated suicide attacks in Kabul

2012-04-15 16:30
An Afghan soldier stands guard as a helicopter flies low over the scene of a suicide attack on the provincial reconstruction team compound in the Behsood district of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. (Rahmat Gul, AP)

An Afghan soldier stands guard as a helicopter flies low over the scene of a suicide attack on the provincial reconstruction team compound in the Behsood district of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. (Rahmat Gul, AP) (Rahmat Gul)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kabul - Explosions and gunfire rocked the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday as suicide bombers struck across Afghanistan in co-ordinated attacks claimed by Taliban insurgents as the start of a spring offensive.

The German and Japanese embassy compounds were reported hit as militants attacked the city's diplomatic enclave and tried to storm parliament - sparking a gun battle in which lawmakers and bodyguards fired back from the rooftop.

The embassies of the United States and Britain were also targeted, the spokesperson for Nato's International Security Assistance Force, General Carsten Jacobson, said.

"We have confirmed attacks on the US, the German and British embassies and had earlier reports of attacks on the Russian embassy," he told Al Jazeera television.

"And on the road to Jalalabad we had attacks on the military installations, primarily against the main Turkish location in town."

Outside the capital, militants attacked government buildings in Logar province, the airport in Jalalabad, and a police facility in the town of Gardez in Paktya province.

The attacks will raise fears over the precarious security situation in Afghanistan as Nato prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.

At least three attackers were killed in Kabul, and three others died when they detonated their car-bomb in Jalalabad - injuring several people - officials and police said, as fighting continued.

Militants were still launching rocket propelled grenades and exchanging fire with security forces as evening fell, an AFP reporter at the scene in Kabul's embassy enclave said.

Start of fighting season

A Taliban spokesperson said "a lot of suicide bombers" were involved in the attacks, which herald the annual fighting season that follows Afghanistan's harsh winters.

Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesperson, told AFP by phone from an unknown location, that the attacks were a message to the Kabul government and its Western military backers.

"The Kabul administration and the invading forces had said some time ago that the Taliban will not be able to launch a spring offensive. Today's attacks were the start of our spring offensive," he said.

Nato has about 130 000 troops supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai against the Taliban insurgency, but they will pull out by the end of 2014, handing control of security to Afghan forces.

A spokesperson for Nato's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told AFP that Afghan forces, whose ability to withstand the Taliban after 2014 has been questioned, were taking the lead in countering the assaults on Kabul.

But the latest in a series of spectacular attacks shows militants still have the ability to strike at the heart of the capital.

In September last year Taliban attacks targeting locations including the US embassy and headquarters of foreign troops in Kabul killed at least 14 during a 19-hour siege. And in August, nine people were killed when suicide bombers attacked the British Council cultural centre.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said in Berlin that the "grounds of the German embassy" had sustained damage Sunday but that "as far as we know [there have been] no injuries".

Japan's Kyodo news agency said three rockets landed in the Japanese embassy but nobody was hurt and staff had evacuated to a nearby air raid shelter.

Lockdown

US embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall said the building was in lockdown but all staff were accounted for and safe, with no reports of injuries.

And the British Foreign Office said in London that all British embassy staff in Kabul were "accounted for".

"I was in my car repairing workshop when I saw two suicide bombers armed with RPG's and rifles," said witness Mohammad Zakir.

"One of them started shooting on the spot and killed an intelligence employee. The second one occupied a building under construction building and started firing rocket propelled grenades at the Kabul Star Hotel, German, US and UK embassies," the 27-year-old said.

Several attackers tried to enter the Afghan parliament but were engaged by security forces and driven back, parliamentary media officer Qudratullah Jawid told AFP. They had taken cover in a building near the parliament, he said.

MP Mohammad Naeem Lalai told AFP lawmakers joined the security forces in firing on militants as they tried to storm the parliament, which was in session.

A police spokesperson said the areas under attack in Kabul were the diplomatic enclave of Wazir Akbar Khan in the centre, parliament in the west and District Nine in the south, where there are several foreign military bases.

Read more on:    taliban  |  nato  |  isaf  |  afghanistan
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Kraaifontein 14:55 PM
Road name: N1 Outbound

DELAYS approaching the Okavango Road exit due to an earlier accident

Stikland 12:25 PM
Road name: Strand Road Eastbound

TRUCK CRASH between La Belle Road and the R300 Highway

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.