TALIBAN SUICIDE BOMBERS ATTACKED CIA HEADQUARTERS AND PRESIDENTIAL PALACE IN AFGHANISTAN

Taliban suicide bombers attack presidential palace and CIA headquarters in Afghanistan

  • Militants attacked palace at around 6.30am, according to reports
  • Gunfire and around seven or eight explosions heard
  • Taliban confirm attack saying ‘we brought death to the enemy’
  • Journalists had gathered for a press conference with President Karzai

By Steve Robson

Taliban suicide bombers have blown up a car bomb in an attack on the presidential palace and the CIA headquarters in Afghanistan.

Militants attacked the eastern gates of the palace at around 6.30am as a group of journalists were gathered for a press conference with President Hamid Karzai.

A series of gunfire and around seven or eight explosions were heard in the battle which lasted around 45 minutes.

The army said three or four attackers were killed but knew of no other deaths of security forces or civilians.

 
Battle: Afghan security forces stand guard as smoke rises from the entrance gate of the Presidential palace in Kabul Battle: Afghan security forces stand guard as smoke rises from the entrance gate of the Presidential palace in Kabul

 
Battle: Afghan security services said three or four militants had been killed but knew of no other deaths the eastern gate of the presidential palace as explosions and gunfire were heardBattle: Afghan security services said three or four militants had been killed but knew of no other deaths

Smoke was seen rising from the large, fortified area in downtown Kabul that also includes the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters for the NATO-led coalition forces.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility, saying in a text message ‘we brought death to the enemy.’

Attack: President Karzai had been due to give a press conference to journalists about the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban when the militants arrivedAttack: President Karzai had been due to give a press conference to journalists about the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban when the militants arrived

He later suggested in an emailed statement that all three buildings had been targeted, saying the attack came ‘near the Ariana Hotel, the important CIA base, and also the presidential palace and Ministry of Defense.’

 Mujahid claimed the attackers had inflicted “heavy casualties,” but Afghanistan’s Kabul division army commander Gen. Kadam Shah Shahim said he knew of no deaths among security forces or civilians.

He said his forces killed all of the attackers, three or four men who had jumped out of a car and opened fire.

BBC correspondent Bilal Sarwary said militants were locked in clashes with President Hamid Karzai’s bodyguards, as well as security personnel from the nearby ministry of defence and a CIA station.

Police had no immediate comment, the Associated Press reported.

The attack comes after President Karzai expressed concern that the US had engaged in peace talks with the Taliban.

Lt. Col. Frank Hoelzner, a spokesman for the NATO coalition, said he had no immediate information but that the headquarters had not been affected by the attack.

The Taliban have indicated they are willing to open peace talks with the U.S. and the Afghanistan government and just last week opened an office in Qatar for possible negotiations.

But at the same time they have not renounced violence and attacks have continued across Afghanistan.
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