Taliban militants killed after hours-long siege on Kabul guesthouse
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An hours-long gun battle with Taliban militants in the diplomatic district of Kabul ended early on Wednesday with the four insurgents killed, a government minister said, reporting no civilian or military casualties.
No casualties other than the attackers were reported. The Taliban said numerous “invaders” had been killed, although the group often makes exaggerated claims about casualties in attacks against Afghan government and foreign targets.
Teams of elite Afghan security forces were deployed to the guesthouse area, an upscale part of the capital where many embassies and government buildings are located.
Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi declined to identify the occupants of the guesthouse. Afghan and Western security sources said it is known to accommodate foreigners as well as Afghans, and that it could be owned by a prominent political family.
Over a dozen explosions that sounded like rockets were counted during the attack and gunfire continued after midnight. Several of the more powerful blasts heard could have been caused by suicide bombers detonating their vests, an Afghan security source said.
The Afghan capital has been hit by a series of high-profile attacks on foreigners and government targets over the past two weeks.
The Taliban targeted the Park Palace hotel on May 13, killing over a dozen people. The majority of casualties were Afghan civilians, but an American, a British-Afghan national, four Indians, an Italian and a Kazakh were also among the dead.
NATO’s 13-year combat mission officially ended in December and the small contingent that remains in the country is mostly focused on training Afghan security forces.
Afghan civilians, however, are bearing the brunt of the bloody conflict that has escalated around the country as foreign troops have withdrawn.
Following the deadly hotel attack two weeks ago, an EU vehicle was bombed a few days later near Kabul’s airport in a blast that killed a British security contractor and at least two Afghan civilians.
Last week, at least five Afghans were killed and dozens more wounded by a car bomb that detonated in the parking lot of the Afghan Ministry of Justice.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)