News24

Blasts, gunfire as Obama visits Afghan

2012-05-02 07:39

Kabul - A suicide car bomber and Taliban militants disguised in burqas attacked a compound housing hundreds of foreigners in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, officials and witnesses said.

The Taliban said the attack was a response to President Barack Obama's surprise visit just hours earlier.

At least six people were killed in the early morning attacks, officials said, as blasts and gunfire continued to ring out from the privately guarded compound known as Green Village that houses hundreds of international contractors.

A series of explosions and gunfire rang out near the complex in eastern Kabul at about 06:00 and shooting continued for hours later. Another large explosion was heard coming from inside Green Village shortly after 09:00 and a large plume of smoke was seen rising from the compound.

An Afghan police official said two suicide attackers were still inside Green Village and were "resisting". The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

One of the first blasts was a suicide car bomb that exploded near Jalalabad road - one of the main thoroughfares out of the city, said Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq Sediqi. A station wagon that was driving past was caught up in the explosion and four people inside were killed, Sediqi said. A passer-by and a security guard for a nearby building also were killed.

A young man who saw the explosion said the dead pedestrian was one of his fellow classmates.

"I was walking to school when I saw a very big explosion. A car exploded and flames went very high into the air," said 21-year-old Mohammad Wali. "Then I saw a body of one of my classmates lying on the street. I knew it was a suicide attack and ran away. I was so afraid."

Heavy shooting

A local resident who saw the attack unfold said the attackers were disguised in burqas - the head-to-toe robes worn by conservative Afghan women.

"A vehicle stopped here and six people wearing burqas entered the alley carrying black bags in their hands. When they entered the alley, there was an explosion," said Abdul Manan.

The explosions happened hours after Obama left Afghanistan after a quick visit to mark the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. He spoke to troops and signed a pact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to govern the US presence in Afghanistan through 2024.

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was planned on Tuesday night as a response to Obama's trip.

"This is a reaction to Obama's visit to Afghanistan," Mujahid said, without elaborating. He said the target was a "foreign military base".

Nato forces spokesperson Captain Justin Brockhoff said there were no indications that any NATO bases were under attack.

The Green Village complex, with its towering blast walls and heavily armed security force, is very similar in appearance to Nato bases in the city. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw a group of Afghan soldiers enter the Green Village compound, after which heavy shooting could be heard coming from inside.

Outside the complex, men could be seen carrying a wounded man covered with blood, apparently pulled out of the flames engulfing a nearby car.

"These people evacuated a man from the burning car, two bodies are laying there now and three or four other victims were evacuated from the school," said Ahmad Zia, a resident who saw the explosion.

Green Village was also the target of anti-foreigner protests following the burning of Qurans at a US base in February. At that time, violent protests raged outside, but the angry crowds did not breach the compound's defenses.

Comments
  • Anthony - 2012-05-02 07:46

    expected

  • Gieljam - 2012-05-02 08:17

    Trying to solve the Afghan issue, is like trying to help a crocodile under water which has got hold of you .a murky mess to say the least

  • Jeffrey - 2012-05-02 08:26

    osama obama what names. world destruction. that was troubling the trouble. Why visiting.

  • Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-05-02 15:05

    But Obama just said in another article on this site that they have broken the talibans momentum. This man is a stone cold liar!!!

      Fred - 2012-05-02 18:01

      Or News24 has misreported. Best to listen to the speech yourself. It's clear.

  • GrootWitHaai - 2012-05-02 16:30

    KABUL, 02 MAY 2012 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan condemns in the strongest terms the car bomb and suicide attack in the Afghan capital Kabul that killed eight civilians including women and two children and injured 11 other civilians. The attacks were reported as targeting the international community. These attacks also took place less than 200 meters from a school where children were studying or on their way to school and where teachers were working. UNAMA stresses that such indiscriminate and illegal attacks are unacceptable and that those responsible are fully accountable for the deaths and injuries of civilians. UNAMA offers its condolences to the families of those killed, wishing a speedy recovery for those injured. UNAMA commends the rapid response of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) that quickly contained the incident. All United Nations staff have been accounted for.

      Fred - 2012-05-02 18:11

      These murderers will not prevail. They're on the wrong side of history. They will be facing Afghan security forces 350,000 strong, backed by the US, the strongest and most hardened fighting force on Earth right now. The Taliban are expected to be normal human beings who respect other people's right to choose their leaders, and how they want to live their lives. They'll have to grow up, or they'll die, by their own martyred choice.

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