Taliban attack Afghan presidential palace

Taliban attack Afghan presidential palace
Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:36:50

Blasts and gunfire hit the presidential compound in the Afghan capital, with Taliban claiming responsibility.

Taliban attack Afghan presidential palace Afghanistan

Blasts and gunfire hit the presidential compound in the Afghan capital, Kabul, with Taliban claiming responsibility.

Afghan forces put down an early morning attack by Taliban militants on the presidential palace and nearby buildings in central Kabul on Tuesday, with police saying all the assailants had been killed after a 90-minute gunfight.

President Hamid Karzai's whereabouts were not immediately known, though he had been due to attend a press event at the palace after 9 a.m. local time. Reporters had been gathering at the palace and took cover when the firing broke out.
The defense ministry and the Ariana Hotel, the US Central Intelligence Agency's Afghan station, were also targeted.

Afghan forces and US troops returned fire and explosions resounded in the area. Schoolchildren walking to classes nearby were also caught in the exchanges. It was not immediately clear if any were hurt.

A thick plume of smoke was seen rising from Ariana Hotel at the height of the exchanges.

The attack was launched a day after the US envoy appointed to mediate talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, James Dobbins, arrived in Kabul and met Karzai.

He told reporters on Monday that Washington was still trying to determine if the Taliban were ready for talks.
The talks to end 12 years of war between the Taliban insurgency and US-led forces ran into difficulties over the opening of a Taliban office in the Gulf emirate of Qatar.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains rampant across the country.

string(173) "[{"id":"1480843","sort":"3040747","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/03/alalam_635058803613519243_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Afghan blast kills 10 students, 2 US-led troops"} ]"