11 killed in Taliban attack on Kabul after Obama’s visit
TALIBAN militants carried out an audacious attack in Kabul only hours after US President Barack Obama visited the city, leaving 11 people including all five attackers dead.
A tense calm prevailed in the Afghan capital as authorities the end of the deadly Taliban strike, on the first anniversary of the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
The attack was mounted after Obama left Kabul following a previously unannounced visit. The quick trip saw him signing a strategic partnership agreement with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, media reports said.
Taliban militants resorted to suicide bombings and fought a pitched battle with security forces on Wednesday morning. The deadly attack ended after all the attackers were killed inside a residential compound used by foreign staff of international organisations, Xinhua reported.
“Afghan Security Forces led a capable and quick response in containing and then killing all attackers,” said the NATOled International Security Assistance Force.
Afghanistan had been anxious ahead of May 2, the day Osama was fatally shot by US commandos in Pakistan’s Abbottabad town. The Taliban had sheltered Osama when the Al Qaeda carried out 9/11, provoking the US to attack Afghanistan and topple the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime.
Kabul woke up on Wednesday to gunfire and explosions. The attack began at 6.15 with a suicide car bomber targeting the entrance of Green Village residential compound in Pul-i- Charkhi area, enabling other heavily-armed militants to enter it, a police officer told.
Two deafening blasts took place inside the fortified complex and then an intense gunfight broke out. Pul-i-Charkhi is located on Jalalabad road, the main road leading out of the capital to the east to the border with Pakistan.
Several US and NATO military camps are located nearby.
Kabul police officials put the death toll at 11, including five attackers. The identity of the others are not known although one is said to be a security guard from Nepal.
This is the second coordinated attack in Afghanistan in two weeks. A total of 51 people, including 36 attackers, were killed and 74 injured when the Taliban launched a major attack in Kabul and three other eastern cities April 15.
India said there were no Indian casualties in Wednesday’s attack. “No reports of any Indians amongst casualties in Kabul,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
“Obama reached Kabul overnight on Tuesday.
Afghanistan has a friend and a partner in the US,” he said before signing the Strategic Partnership Agreement outlining cooperation between their countries once the USled forces withdraw in 2014, CNN reported.