Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Taliban attacks govt buildings as Karzai swears in cabinet

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-18

Five people died and at least 70 others were injured as the Taliban launched its worst attack in nearly a year, targeting Kabul's government buildings and the presidential palace, where President Hamid Karzai was swearing in members of his cabinet.

 

REUTERS - Taliban gunmen launched a brazen assault on the centre of Kabul on
More on Taliban
Monday, with suicide bombers blowing themselves up at several locations and militants battling security forces from inside a shopping centre engulfed in flames.
 
The insurgents failed in an apparent attempt to seize government buildings but demonstrated their ability to cause mayhem at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama is trying to rally support for an expanded military mission to fight them.
 
It was the worst attack on the city in nearly a year and came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai was swearing in cabinet members inside the heavily fortified presidential palace.
 
Taliban still capable of striking heart of Kabul
Gunfire and loud explosions shook the city and a huge column of smoke poured out of the shopping centre, where gunmen battled security forces for hours. Sporadic fighting continued in some areas although Karzai said the city was back under under control.
 
"There were gunshots from security people, there was black smoke inside the building and the security guys escorted us out," Kabul shopkeeper Mohammad Shah told Reuters.
 
"People carrying RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) went into the basement. The second and third floor are partly burned down."
 
Three members of the Afghan security forces and two civilians were killed and 71 people were wounded, the government said.
 
The Defence Ministry said in a statement 10 attackers had been killed, although other officials gave slightly different figures, perhaps not counting bombers who blew themselves up.
 
"The security situation is under control and order has once again been restored," President Hamid Karzai said in a statement after more than four hours of battles, when security forces finally recaptured the burning shopping centre.
 
Other fighters continued battling in a cinema, with the last fighting ceasing nearly six hours after the first attack.
 
The Taliban said 20 of their fighters were involved in the attacks, which they said targeted the presidential palace, justice ministry, ministry of mines and a presidential administrative building, all clustered in the city centre.
 
"As we were conducting the ceremony of swearing in, a terrorist attack in a part of Kabul close to the presidential palace is going on. This is just one of the dangers," Karzai told ministers at the swearing-in ceremony. "The danger that could harm Afghanistan is sowing national discord among Afghans."
 
U.S. envoy to the region Richard Holbrooke, who had left Kabul hours earlier for New Delhi, said: "The people who are doing this certainly will not survive the attack nor will they succeed, but we can expect this sort of a thing on a regular basis. That is who the Taliban are."
 
Initiative
 
The attacks were a slap in the face for an initiative to lure Taliban fighters to lay down their arms, which Karzai plans to announce at an international conference in London this month.
 
The initiative, known as a reintegration fund, is a key part of Obama's new strategy, which will also see 30,000 extra troops sent to turn the tide against a mounting insurgency.
 
A Reuters correspondent at the scene of the shopping centre siege saw the body of a shopkeeper carried out. People wept over the body as gunshots could be heard.
 
Later, a Reuters cameraman saw the bullet-riddled bodies of two of the militants on the street, outside the building where security forces had dumped them.
 
Shah, who had escaped the shopping centre, said the gunmen had stormed in after an explosion at the gate to the nearby presidential palace.
 
While the shopping centre siege was on, a suicide car bomber drove a vehicle painted as a military ambulance to another shopping mall nearby and blew it up, killing police and security officials. The government said it was not an official ambulance and denied it showed that fighters had infiltrated the army.
 
Three suicide bombers loaded with grenades blew themselves up in different places: one near the education ministry, a second in a crowded square near the central bank and a third outside the shopping centre, a senior government official said.
 
Government buildings and diplomatic offices in Kabul are heavily fortified but a series of attacks in the past year, including one which killed five foreign U.N. staff at a guest house, underscore the city's vulnerability.
 
Last February, attackers stormed the justice ministry and other government buildings and Taliban fighters have mounted similar commando raids in other cities.
 

 

Date created : 2010-01-18

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Large explosion rocks central Kabul's diplomatic district

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Third French soldier dies in as many days

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)