An attack by gunmen on the afghan ministry of telecommunications in the capital kabul ended in several casualties after hours of gunfire.
All four attackers, as well as four civilians and three security forces, were killed, the interior ministry said. The gunmen had stormed the ministry after an explosion and had entered the postal center located there. At least 2800 employees have been brought out of the building to safety. Initially, no one claimed responsibility for the attack. Further details about the incident were not known at first.
The radical islamic taliban, who have been increasingly attacking government targets and seizing territory since the withdrawal of nato protection troops at the end of 2014, denied involvement in the attack. They and also the terrorist organization islamic state (IS) have repeatedly attacked targets in afghanistan in the recent past.
Eight people were injured in the attack, the interior ministry said. There were conflicting reports about the exact number of deaths. A spokesman for the ministry of health spoke of two dead and six injured, telecommunications minister shahsad arjobi wrote on facebook of five dead and several injured. However, the interior ministry had shown itself to be a reliable source in past attacks.
A spokesman for the interior ministry, nasrat rahimi, said the attackers who entered the central postal center had fired on security forces from there. It remained unclear why they had chosen this ministry and the postal center of all places. Nor was there any information yet on how exactly the explosion had occurred that had initiated the attack and shattered the government quarter.
Smoke rose from a part of the ministry that is only a few meters away from the presidential palace. TV pictures also showed that security forces had cordoned off the area around the ministry.
In 2018 alone, more than 550 people were killed in kabul in more than 20 crude attacks and assaults. More than 1,000 were injured. The majority of the attacks were claimed by the sunni IS. The terrorist organization also claimed responsibility for the attack on a well-known shiite shrine on 21 december. Marz responsible – at the time, seven people died.
The taliban, who ruled much of afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, have continued to expand their influence and territory, according to a U.S. Report. Talks on a peace deal between them and afghan government officials were due to take place in qatar’s capital doha on friday, but were cancelled.