Coordinated Kabul suicide attack targets govt building

KABUL Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:43pm IST

Afghan police officers run to the Kabul traffic police headquarters as it is attacked by insurgents in Kabul January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Afghan police officers run to the Kabul traffic police headquarters as it is attacked by insurgents in Kabul January 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Omar Sobhani

KABUL (Reuters) - Suicide bombers and gunmen launched an eight-hour assault on the headquarters of the Kabul traffic police on Monday, Afghan officials said, in the second coordinated attack on a government building in less than a week.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the operation In which all five attackers and three traffic police officers were killed, interior ministry officials said.

The attack raised the possibility that insurgents were shifting tactics, testing Afghan security forces in Kabul after a series of high-profile attacks on Western targets last year.

Violence across the country has been increasing over the last 12 months, sparking concern about how the 350,000-strong Afghan security forces will be able to manage once foreign troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

Last week, six suicide bombers attacked the National Directorate of Security (NDS), killing two guards. That attack followed December's failed assassination attempt on NDS chief Asadullah Khalid.

"It's very clear that more and more the Afghan security sources are getting into the lead, the more they are targeted by the insurgents," said Brigadier General Gunter Katz, spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Monday's attack began when three men detonated suicide bombs outside the main entrance and was followed by the two remaining attackers storming the unfortified area, Deputy Interior Minister General Abdul Rahman said.

The pair, armed with automatic rifles, battled security forces outside the building nestled between two police hubs and close to parliament and a road commonly used by Afghan MPs.

Thick smoke rose from the compound and an Afghan Army helicopter hovered above as Afghan forces returned fire with rockets and machine guns.

The two gunmen were eventually killed by security forces, an interior ministry spokesman said.

"Honestly speaking, this type of attack, at the start of the year, indicates the coming months are going to be tough," a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"The Taliban will want to display their presence and reach with these kinds of attacks in Kabul."

(Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman and Dylan Welch; Editing by Nick Macfie)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Economic Pulse

REUTERS SHOWCASE

NSEL Fraud

NSEL Fraud

Govt orders Financial Tech to absorb NSEL, liabilities  Full Article 

Stalemate

Stalemate

WTO prepares for crisis talks as India keeps veto on global deal.  Full Article 

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

Smartphone repair company B2X steps up expansion with Indian deal.  Full Article 

Earnings Season

Earnings Season

HDFC Bank eyes pickup in corporate credit.  Full Article 

JLR China

JLR China

JLR sees 20 percent growth in China sales this year - exec  Full Article 

Iron Ore Imports

Iron Ore Imports

JSW Steel to boost iron ore imports by up to 80 percent.  Full Article 

Pollution Levels

Pollution Levels

Delhi braces for worst air quality this Diwali week.  Full Article 

Remembering Margerie

Remembering Margerie

Total’s "Big Moustache"- bon vivant, deal-maker and risk-taker .  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage