Afghan Officials Say Attack on Ministry Was Repelled

Gunfire and an explosion were heard near the interior ministry building in Kabul today, days after the Taliban vowed to target military and intelligence centres in the Afghan capital.

The firefight ended by 3 p.m., he said, and all the gunmen had been killed.

Still, many experts say there are huge differences between the Colombian and Afghan conflicts.

Hours after the attack, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the assault in a brief statement carried by its Aamaq news agency.

One police officer was killed and five were wounded, he said.

Safi said the casualty toll in the Wednesday morning attack was only an initial report and could rise.

U.S. Army General John Nicholson, commander of Resolute Support forces and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, walks with Afghan officials during an official visit in Farah province, Afghanistan May 19, 2018.

There was no breach of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation compound, said Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for the coalition in Kabul.

The tactics used in the attack "track with" the tactics that the Haqqani faction has used in the past, he said and added: "We at this time do not believe it was an ISIS attack". United States officials say that the war in Afghanistan is primarily between the two Afghan sides, and that the USA can not substitute for direct negotiations between the ruling government in Kabul and the Taliban. A suicide auto bomb was set off at the gates before three gunmen in suicide vests stormed the compound.

In the southern city of Kandahar, a roadside bomb killed three people and wounded another 13, said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor. Among the wounded were two children, the media reported.

However, the attack in one of the heartlands of the Taliban insurgency was a significant blow to the insurgents, he said.

Last month, for example, more than two dozen people were killed by suicide bomber attacks in Kabul.

Security forces are there to assess the situation.

The city accounted for 16 per cent of all civilian casualties previous year, when 1,831 civilians were killed or wounded nationwide, according to the United Nations.

A half-hour gun battle raged between the militants inside the police station and police, killing security forces and civilians.

The militants seized the center of the Dasht-e Qala district on May 30 "after seven hours of fighting and resistance", spokesman Sunnatullah Timor told RFE/RL.

  • Jon Douglas