Four killed in Taliban attack in Kabul

KABUL: Afghan forces fought for hours against Taliban militants who killed at least four civilians and wounded dozens more when they stormed an aid organisation in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, security officials said.

The assault began shortly before midday, when a car bomb exploded in the compound of the non-profit Counterpart International, in the Shahr Naw area of Kabul, the latest assault by Taliban insurgents even as they hold peace talks.

At least four civilians, including a woman and a policeman, were killed and 24 civilians and policemen wounded, said Nasrat Rahimi, an interior ministry spokesman. One of the wounded was a foreign national, he said, but did not give his nationality.

“The attack is over and security forces cleared the building and rescued hundreds of people, including group employees who were trapped inside,” Mr Rahimi said. Five of the attackers were shot dead by security forces, he added.

Explosions and bursts of gunfire rocked the area after it was surrounded by special forces, backed by advisers from foreign forces, trying to flush out the attackers. Authorities cordoned off the site, dispatching ambulances and police trucks.

Amanullah Rahim, an eyewitness, said, “I was in my shop when I heard a huge explosion that shattered all the windows and damaged everything. I ran away and thank God I am not hurt.”

At least nine injured people were taken to a hospital, said Wahidullah Mayar, a health ministry spokesman. Officials at the city’s Emergency Hospital said they had received 17 wounded.