Suicide bombers, gunmen attack Kabul police stations
Suicide bombers and gunmen launched apparent coordinated attacks on two Kabul police stations on Wednesday, with witnesses reporting on social media that both assaults are still under way.
AFP journalists heard several loud explosions in the heart of the Afghan capital followed by gunfire that was confirmed by Afghan officials and witnesses.
In the first attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a police station in the west of the city, sparking a gunfight between other militants and officers, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP.
Ariana TV footage showed a thick plume of black smoke rising into the sky.
“The second attack happened in front of police precinct 10 in Shar-e-Naw in central Kabul,” Danish added.
“Two attackers who tried to enter the police compound were shot dead.”
An AFP correspondent near the scene of the second attack saw a body on the street by the police station and heard several gunshots.
“Two wounded people have been brought to Kabul hospitals from the site of second explosion in Shar-e-Naw,” health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks that come just over a week after twin blasts in Kabul killed 25 people, including AFP chief photographer Shah Marai and eight other journalists.
Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.
The Taliban recently launched their annual spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government.
Their Operation Al Khandaq will target US forces and “their intelligence agents” as well as their “internal supporters”, a Taliban statement said on April 25.
After an easing of violence in Kabul in February and March, militants have stepped up attacks in the city in recent weeks.
Kabul has long been one of the deadliest places in Afghanistan for civilians.
On April 22, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration centre in the city, killing 60 people and wounding more than 100.
That was among a series of attacks across the country in places where people were signing up to vote.
The Taliban and IS have made clear their intentions to disrupt the parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for October 20.
General John Nicholson, who leads US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said previously that protecting Kabul was a priority for foreign troops.
But he acknowledged that preventing attacks would be challenging in the sprawling city that is poorly mapped and extremely porous.
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