Taliban gunmen attack Kabul presidential palace - World News...

Posted by GS-G-khan-Ekener-427 on Jun. 26, 2013

Taliban gunmen launched a suicide attack near the presidential palace and CIA offices in Kabul after using fake security passes to get into the fortified diplomatic zone and killing three checkpoint guards. Attackers jumped out of a vehicle at a roundabout near the Salam Khana (Welcome Home) gate of the presidential palace and opened fire on guards and the former Ariana hotel nearby, which has been used as a CIA base for more than a decade. A spokesman for the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, said the fighting never approached the palace's inner area of homes and offices, which lies behind walls that are dozens of metres thick in places. Journalists who had gathered for early security checks before a presidential press event witnessed the attackers pile out of a minivan. They fled behind a shrine for shelter, scooping up a young student who had been heading for classes at a nearby school, and took cover as fighting raged for about 90 minutes. All escaped unhurt. The Taliban claimed responsibility. It was the first complex attack since the group said last week that they were open to peace talks. This is very much a message that 'we can still do war as well as peace', said Kate Clark, of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. Ariana Square, the scene of the attack, is notorious in Afghanistan as the place where the Taliban hung the body of the former president Najibullah from a lamppost when they took control of the city in 1996. Nowadays it is so heavily secured that it is virtually empty of traffic and pedestrians. The attackers arrived along a road leading up from the river with just one relatively lax checkpoint before the outer palace gate. The other access roads are more heavily guarded with outer checkpoints and then high security posts, where most vehicles and passengers need prior authorisation to continue. Kabul's police chief, Ayoub Salangi, said the attackers had fake identification from a compound inside the unofficial green zone, which is dotted with embassies, military bases and ministries. It was clever of the guards at the gate to recognise the fake identification card and when they understood that, they stopped them and two or three attackers jumped out from the vehicle and fighting started, Salangi said. If the negotiations go ahead they will be the first in the 12-year-long war. Karzai withdrew his government from negotiation plans after the Taliban presented their Doha villa as a quasi-embassy for a government-in-exile with their ...

Categories News Videos

Tags bbc world news, news, recent world news

More Details »