World Bulletin/News Desk
Taliban gunmen stormed a guest house for foreign aid workers in the Afghan capital on Saturday and fought inside former U.S. and British base Camp Bastion in the south, just a month after it was vacated.
Authorities fear hostages may have been taken in Saturday's assault on the guest house in Kabul's western Karte She district. The area was cordoned off and gunfire and explosions could be heard late into the evening.
It was the second attack in three days to target living quarters of international aid workers.
At least two fighters in suicide vests entered the compound late on Saturday afternoon and were still inside in early evening, said Qadam Shah Shaheem, commander of the Afghan army's 111 Military Corps Kabul.
"We are afraid the attackers may have taken some people hostage. We are therefore acting very cautiously to avoid casualties," Shaheem said.
He said at least two Afghan guards were wounded. He did not know the name of the aid organisation.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, with a spokesman saying in a statement that their fighters had targeted a Christian organisation seeking to convert Muslims.
On Thursday, Taliban gunmen stormed another guest house in Kabul's diplomatic quarter, though only the attackers were killed.
In southern Afghanistan, Afghan army soldiers continued to fight to oust several Taliban gunmen who were able to breach the perimeter of Camp Bastion, a major base handed over to Afghans by the British and U.S. militaries just one month ago.
The militants and army forces were exchanging sporadic gunfire on Saturday morning inside the camp in Helmand province, said Gen. Ayatullah Khan, commander of the army regiment in the area.
A few dozen Taliban fighters with automatic weapons and suicide vests attacked the base on Thursday, Khan said.
"Some managed to get inside, took position, and started the gunfight," Khan said, adding that the insurgents appeared to be holed up at an inner facility.
At least five Afghan soldiers were killed Friday in fighting at the base, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for Helmand's governor.
He said 26 of the insurgents were killed on Friday, but a few fighters remained.
Camp Bastion was handed over to the Afghan military as part of the coalition's drawdown.
The Taliban, who were ousted from power by the U.S.-led coalition in 2001, claimed that hundreds had been killed in the attack. The fighters routinely inflate casualty figures.Last Mod: 29 Kasım 2014, 16:24