Militants lay siege to guesthouse in Kabul's diplomatic area

Heavy gunfire and a series of explosions were heard in central Kabul late on Tuesday night, with police unable to immediately provide further details on the target of the attack.
Afghan-police-officers-stand-guard-near-the-site-of-attack-in-Wazir-Akbar-Khan-in-Kabul-AFP-Photo
Afghan-police-officers-stand-guard-near-the-site-of-attack-in-Wazir-Akbar-Khan-in-Kabul-AFP-Photo
Updated on May 27, 2015 03:10 AM IST
Copy Link
AP | By, Kabul

Heavy gunfire and explosions echoed through an upscale neighbourhood in Afghanistan's capital late Tuesday night, as police surrounded a guesthouse popular with foreigners thought to be under attack by insurgents.

The firefight in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, which is home to several embassies, sounded to be focused on the Rabbani Guesthouse. It began just after 11pm (1830 GMT, 2:30pm EDT), with heavy explosions accompanying sporadic automatic weapon fire.

Police could not be immediately reached for comment, though officers could be seen blocking off roads into the area. Police officers later smashed lights throughout the upscale neighborhood to cover their movements.

Deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi said a guesthouse appeared to be the target of the attack, without specifically naming the Rabbani. He said two attackers had been killed and that authorities didn't know how many were involved in the assault.

The guesthouse, once known as the Heetal Hotel, was damaged in a December 2009 suicide car bomb attack near the home of former Afghan vice president Ahmad Zia Massoud - brother of legendary anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed in an al Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks. That 2009 attack killed eight people and wounded nearly 40.

The hotel is owned by the Rabbani family, who include the late Burhanuddin Rabbani, who served as president of Afghanistan from 1992 until 1996, and current Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes amid intensified fighting across many parts of Afghanistan since the Taliban launched their warm weather offensive a month ago.

Taliban militants attacked a guesthouse days earlier this month in Kabul, killing an American, a British citizen, an Italian, four Indian nationals, five Afghans and two Pakistanis. The United Nations already has documented a record high number of civilian casualties - 974 killed and 1,963 injured - in the first four months of 2015, a 16 percent increase over the same period last year.

Afghan security forces have been struggling to fend off Taliban attacks since U.S. and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of last year.

Earlier Tuesday, four militants launched the attack on the court in the capital of Wardak province, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Kabul, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor.

One of the attackers blew himself up as the other three exchanged fire with police before being killed, Khogyani said.

In Uruzgan province, officials said that a district has been under attack by militants for the past two weeks.

"A high number of Taliban are attacking different checkpoints but we are not getting any response from senior officials in Kabul," district chief Abdul Karim Karimi said.

He said that since the fighting began, 12 soldiers have been killed and dozens were wounded.

"Unless we get government help, we are going to lose the district," he said.

On Monday, militants killed at least 26 police officers and soldiers in ambushes in southern Helmand province. As police retreated, militants surrounded the police headquarters of Naw Zad district and fired down on them from surrounding hills, district police chief Napas Khan said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A forensic technician ties a used police line together to seal off a crime scene in Monterrey. 

    Man dies in jet-propelled truck crash at US air show

    Video taken at the Battle Creek Executive Airport by apparent air show attendees and posted on social media showed the truck losing control, bursting into flames and crashing, flipping over multiple times as horrified spectators looked on.

  • An ambulance and armed police are seen during the evacuation of people at the Fields shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 3, 2022 after Danish media reported a shooting. (Photo by Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP)

    3 dead after shooting at shopping mall in Copenhagen; one arrested

    The Royal House said on its website late on Sunday that an event in southern Denmark to commemorate the end of the first three stages of the Tour de France cycling race, hosted by the Danish Crown Prince and with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in attendance, had been cancelled.

  • People rally in support of abortion rights Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Texas clinics halt abortions after state high court ruling

    The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. The following day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in a state of nearly 30 million people.

  • Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

    Google to delete user location history on US abortion clinic visits

    "If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 04, 2022