Kabul: Afghan security forces suppressed a suicide attack on a guest house attached to the Spanish embassy in Kabul, killing three Taliban fighters after hours of intermittent gunfire and explosions that lasted into the early hours of Saturday.
Two Spanish security officers and four Afghan police were also killed in the attack, in a heavily protected part of Kabul close to several embassies and government buildings, Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said in the statement.
In addition, nine Afghan civilians were wounded and another 47 Afghans and foreigners were rescued from nearby buildings. The attacks began at 6 pm on Friday when a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near the guest house, allowing three gunmen to take up positions and open fire on security forces.
“The operation took time because we wanted to rescue the people trapped in surrounding buildings and we had to move cautiously and in a proper tactical manner,” Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said after the operation ended at around 5.30 am.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the “invader’s guest house”, just days after President Ashraf Ghani returned from a regional peace conference in Pakistan.
In a statement, the Taliban taunted authorities with the “shame and humiliation” of not being able to prevent an attack in the heart of the capital.
“The presence of our Mujahideen with weapons and a car loaded with explosives in such a high security area shows God’s support and the cooperation of the poor and Muslim people,” spokesman Zabihulla Mujahid said.
The Islamist movement has been racked by internal power struggles of its own with rival factions battling for supremacy since it confirmed in July that its founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died more than two years ago.