Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Kabul bombers and gunmen kill 20

A Taliban attack two government buildings in Kabul, has left 20 people and eight militants dead.

KABUL // Eight Taliban gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked three Afghan government buildings today in a co-ordinated assault that killed 20 people in the heart of Kabul just ahead of a planned visit from the new US envoy to the region. The attacks in a city dense with barricades and armed guards underscored the difficulty of fending off the Taliban even with abundant troops and weaponry as the US beefs up its presence. The assailants sent three text messages to the leader of their terror cell in Pakistan before launching Wednesday's assault, said Amrullah Saleh, chief of Afghanistan's intelligence agency, underlining the links between militants in the two countries. Five men armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked the justice ministry in late morning, shooting at workers and temporarily trapping the minister and scores of others inside, witnesses said. The gunmen appeared to hold the building for about two hours before Afghan security forces regained control about midday. At about the same time, two men in suicide vests blew themselves up at the ministry's correction department across town. A third assailant in a suicide vest was shot as he tried to force his way into the education ministry, about one kilometre from the justice ministry attack, said defence ministry spokesman Gen Mohammad Zahir Azimi. At least 20 people were killed in the attacks and 57 wounded, said Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the interior minister. All eight attackers died, Azimi said, bringing the total death toll to 28. Zabiullah Mujaheed, a spokesman for the Taliban, said the attacks were in response to the alleged mistreatment of Taliban prisoners in Afghan government jails. "We have warned the Afghan government to stop torturing our prisoners," Mr Mujaheed said. "Today we attacked justice ministry compounds." Mr Saleh, the intelligence chief, said officials had intelligence indicating a "spectacular" attack involving multiple suicide bombers was imminent, but said they did not have enough specifics to prevent it. He compared today's attacks to the assault on hotels, markets and a train station in Mumbai last November that killed 164 in India. Indian officials have blamed the Mumbai attack on the Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-i-Taiba. Mr Saleh did not offer any more specifics. 21 suspects were detained, he said. The Taliban regularly use suicide bombings in their assaults on Afghan and foreign troops, but attackers have rarely made it inside the barricaded and guarded compounds of government buildings in the capital. * AP

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National