9 Afghans dead in suicide bomb attacks ahead of Holbrooke visit

The incidents came a day before Richard Holbrooke, the new U.S. special envoy, was expected to visit Kabul.

9 Afghans dead in suicide bomb attacks ahead of Holbrooke visit

At least nine people were killed after Taliban insurgents attacked government buildings in Kabul on Wednesday, officials and witnesses said, in one of the most audacious attacks on the capital since 2001.

Taliban insurgents stormed the justice ministry in Kabul on Wednesday, killing two government employees, while two suicide bombers attacked another government building in north Kabul, police and witnesses said.

The incidents came a day before Richard Holbrooke, the new U.S. special envoy, was expected to visit Kabul.

The interior ministry said it was checking to see if the attacks were coordinated, but had no immediate details about any of the incidents.

A private television station quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying seven of its fighters were trying to attack the justice ministry and a prison department office building in revenge for the treatment of jailed insurgents.

A police official said there were some casualties from the blast inside a general department for Afghanistan's prisons in the Khair Khana district of north Kabul.

One policeman at the scene said two suicide bombers had blown themselves up while a third had escaped.

Near the presidential palace in central Kabul, two would-be suicide bombers were shot dead and several others were wounded by Afghan security forces, security officials said.

Four of the would-be bombers were shot dead by security guards inside the justice ministry, one was shot dead outside the the building, another was shot dead by police outside the nearby ministry of education, a security official said.

The incident outside the education ministry occured when Afghan security forces exchanged fire while chasing a group of Taliban insurgents, one of the security officials added.

The area around the presidential palace is tightly guarded and home to foreign embassies and government buildings.

Hundreds of people were seen fleeing in panic and sirens were heard in Kabul. Reuters witnesses saw ambulances rushing casualties away from blast in north Kabul.

A spokesman for the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Taliban, ousted in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, have made a come back in recent years, and carried out a series of high-profile attacks in Kabul last year.

Reuters

Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2009, 15:37
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