Taliban attack US embassy, NATO in Afghan capital

Taliban attack US embassy, NATO in Afghan capital

Taliban insurgents launched a series of coordinated attacks in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, targeting the US embassy, NATO offices and police headquarters, officials said, reported dpa.

"Two civilians and four Afghan forces were killed. Twelve others civilians were injured in today's multiple attacks," Kabul Police Chief Ayoub Salangi said.

Taliban insurgents attacked the US embassy and the headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from a building under construction.

The fighting was ongoing late Tuesday. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said there was at least one or two more fighters still holed up in the building next to the embassy premises, resisting Afghan and foreign forces.

The Taliban also attacked an Afghan border police headquarters in western Kabul.

"The US embassy can confirm an attack has occurred in the area of the embassy, including RPG and small arms fire," US spokeswoman Kerri Hannan said.

"We can confirm there are no casualties at this time among embassy personnel."

One bomber tried to get inside a border police headquarters in the west of the city, but was killed by Afghan forces, Mohammad Zahir, the Kabul police crime branch chief, said.

Another bomber was also shot dead by police in the Kart-e-Sey area of the city, near the parliament and the Russian embassy.

One more attacker was also killed on the airport road by Afghan forces, Zahir said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"Our comrades have attacked several government, diplomatic, intelligence and US embassy buildings in Kabul," Zabiullah Mujahid said by phone from an undisclosed location.

"They are using different types of weapons, including suicide vests, machine guns, a new weapon called "82" which is shot like an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade)."

Mujahid confirmed other attacks against Afghan security installations as well.

Witnesses said the attackers had taken over a 13-storey building under construction in the Abdul Haq Square, next to ISAF and the embassy.

They said rocket-propelled grenades were fired, targeting the streets and US embassy.

An ISAF official confirmed they were under attack.

Afghan national security forces and coalition forces immediately responded to the attack, the statement said, adding coalition forces provided air support.

Sirens wailed through the city. Fighter helicopters were roaming the sky over Kabul.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the incursion, calling it terrorist attacks by the enemy to affect the process of transition of security responsibilities to Afghan government.

"The attacks cannot stop the process (transition) from taking place and can not affect, but rather embolden, our people9s determination in taking the responsibility for their country9s own affairs," Karzai said in a statement.

Karzai also praised the "rapid reaction by the brave security personnel" in controlling the situation without allowing terrorists to inflict further human and material losses.

"Their timely reaction demonstrates their improved ability," he said.

The European Union chief in Afghanistan also condemned the attacks on civilians.

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