The Spanish embassy in Kabul was under attack on Friday, Afghan and Madrid officials said after a massive car blast was reported in the area during rush hour, followed by ongoing bursts of gunfire.
“A car bomb hit Sherpur…,” said CID chief Fraidoon Obaidi. “The attackers are firing gunshots, it’s very dark and we are trying to be cautious.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack on a guest house near the Spanish embassy, and said fighting was still going on at the scene. A spokesperson for the extremist group said the attack targeted “an invader’s guest house”.
At least three insurgents appeared to be involved in the attack, a police official said.
At least seven people were brought to a hospital operated by the aid group Emergency, located around 700 metres from the Spanish embassy, according to a tweet from the organisation, but there were no other reports of damage or casualties.
Sherpur is home to several foreign NGOs and residences of senior government officials, including former warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s first vice-president.
“Initial reports of the explosion; car explosion in the vicinity of Shir Pur area of Kabul, we are working on more details,” tweeted interior ministry spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi.
Security officials cordoned off the streets and ambulances with wailing sirens were seen rushing to the scene.
The attack follows a 27-hour Taliban siege this week of Kandahar airport, the largest military installation in southern Afghanistan, in which at least 50 people died -- including women and children.
Eleven suicide attackers on Tuesday breached the high-security complex which also houses a joint Nato-Afghan base, taking families hostage and triggering pitched firefights with soldiers.
As the country grappled with the aftermath of the attack, its spy chief on Thursday quit his post, laying bare disagreements with President Ashraf Ghani over his diplomatic outreach to Pakistan.
The resignation of Rahmatullah Nabil on Thursday highlights the domestic backlash Ghani faces over his attempts to repair strained relations with Islamabad, long blamed for nurturing the Taliban.
But Ghani has staked considerable political capital in advocating bonhomie with the neighbour, saying it was a necessary partner in restarting peace talks aimed at ending Afghanistan’s long war.
(With inputs from Reuters)