Taliban militants on Friday attacked a Kabul guesthouse used by a US anti-landmine charity, killing two people including one girl as gunfire and explosions rocked the Afghan capital one week before the presidential election.
A terrified group of foreigners, including several young children, briefly took shelter behind a generator on the street as Afghan special force commandos fought militants for more than three hours. “One small Afghan girl, who was a passer-by, has been killed. We managed to safely evacuate 31 foreign nationals from inside the building,” Kabul police chief Mohammad Zaher told AFP.
The interior ministry spokesman said one driver had also been killed. Roots of Peace’s country director Sharif Osmani confirmed its guesthouse had been attacked, adding that three Afghans were injured and that three people had been trapped inside before being rescued.
The charity, based in San Francisco, has been working in Afghanistan since 2003, running projects to turn minefields into vineyards and orchards. Friday’s attack is the fourth significant attack this year in Kabul targeting foreigners or places where foreigners congregate. The Taliban have vowed a campaign of violence to disrupt the polls on April 5, urging their fighters to attack polling staff, voters and security forces in the run-up to election day.
Friday’s assault, involving five attackers, began with a car bomb detonated in front of the building and continued until after dark as commandos hunted down attackers inside the compound.