Taliban attacks Kabul’s presidential palace, CIA, ISAF HQ, Ministry of Defense

Taliban has launched an attack in central Kabul, targeting the presidential palace, the CIA and ISAF headquarters, the Ministry of Defense, as well as an international hotel. All the assailants have been killed in the 90-minute showdown.

Local journalist Courtney Body told RT the attack started with a blast and heavy gunfire targeting the palace gate.

“What I saw from the outside of that gate is more of a blast wall around the green zone area, as there were giant holes in the concrete walls and the entire gate was destroyed. Apparently, one vehicle was able to get inside and one vehicle was stopped at the gate, and that’s when the attack began,” Body said.

Some 20 journalists, who were waiting at the palace entrance for a presser by President Karzai, were forced to run for cover as they heard the automatic rifle gunfire, and smoke from an explosion blanketed the area.

The palace guards, as well as guards from the adjacent CIA compound, reportedly fired back immediately after the attack on the west gate.

All the attackers were killed in the 90-minute firefight, according to Kabul Police Chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi. One was killed when he detonated a bomb on his body, and three or four were killed by security forces, he added.

Three security guards were reportedly killed and one more was wounded.

The police chief has also indicated that the damage could have been much worse, as there were schools and offices just outside the gate.

The insurgents were wearing military-style uniform and used fake documents to make their way through the checkpoints in SUVs, but one of the cars was stopped.

Reports indicated that Karzai was in the compound at the time, but a palace official said he was safe.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that eight suicide bombers were able to reach the most secure area of Kabul.

“The brave mujahideen, with special tactics and help from inside, were able to reach their target with their weapons and cars,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email statement quoted by AP.

He said the insurgents carrying hand grenades, a machinegun and rocket-propelled grenades were targeting the presidential palace, the Ministry of Defense, as well as the Ariana Hotel, which is known to house a CIA station.

The area of the city where the attack took place is the site of several important organizations, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, as well as the headquarters for the CIA and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Source: http://rt.com/news/afghanistan-explosions-gunfire-kabul-192/

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