Wednesday 18 October 2017

Gunfire breaks out as security search for Kabul attackers hidden in building after twin bombings

Soldiers and police at the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul (AP)
Soldiers and police at the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul (AP)

Gunfire has broken out in Kabul as security forces search for attackers hidden in a building a day after twin bombings near the Afghan Defence Ministry killed at least 24 people and wounded more than 90.

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Minister, said sporadic gunfire started in the morning hours, not long after a suicide car bomber targeted the Kabul residential neighbourhood of Shar-e Now, or New City.

The explosion was followed by gunfire that continued for over an hour with sporadic shootings.

At least one person is reported dead and six wounded as a result of the attack, said Mr Sediqqi. "More than 30 people who were trapped have been evacuated by the security forces," he added.

The area is home to several guest houses and many foreigners and diplomats reside there. After the explosion, two more attackers are believed to have entered one of the buildings in the area, thought to be a guest house, said Mr Sediqqi.

Security forces have blocked all the roads leading to Shar-e Now.

Smoke rises from the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
Smoke rises from the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

The shooting comes after at least 24 people were killed in bombings near the Defence Ministry. Two security force generals were among those killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Ismail Kawasi said 91 people were wounded in the attack in central Kabul. Mr Sediqqi said a district police chief and five other police officers were among those killed.

Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the second bombing was caused by a suicide attacker who struck the area of the first blast after security forces had gathered. He said the attack took place as ministry employees were leaving their offices for the day. Senior police investigator Faredoon Obiadi said the suicide attacker was wearing a military uniform.

A district police chief and an army general were among those killed in the attack, three officials said. Dozens of ambulances raced to the scene after the blasts, and security forces blocked off roads leading to the area.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in a statement, saying: "The enemies of Afghanistan have lost their ability to fight the Security and Defence Forces of the country and thus attack highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people."

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his group had carried out the attack. The insurgents have been fighting to overthrow the US-backed government for 15 years, and frequently target Afghan security forces.

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