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IN PICS: 19-hour Taliban siege of Kabul ends, 14 dead

Last updated on: September 14, 2011 16:56 IST

IN PICS: 19-hour Taliban siege of Kabul ends, 14 dead

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A coordinated Taliban assault on the Afghan capital was quelled on Wednesday after raging for 19 hours in a hail of rockets, grenades and suicide blasts that left 14 dead and six foreign troops wounded.

Afghan and foreign troops battled the insurgents who targeted the US embassy and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters, sowing fear and confusion and raising fresh questions over the government's ability to secure the country even after a 10-year war.

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Image: Afghan policemen fire towards a building which the Taliban insurgents took over during an attack near the US embassy in Kabul
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
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IN PICS: 19-hour Taliban siege of Kabul ends, 14 dead

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The standoff ended when troops finally killed the two last insurgents who had held out overnight in a high-rise building under construction just a few hundred metres from the heavily guarded American embassy.

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, an International Security Assistance Force spokesman, said, "Nineteen (were) wounded, 11 killed, which includes three children." Cummings said that the dead were all civilians.

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Image: Afghan policemen fire towards a building which the Taliban insurgents took over
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
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IN PICS: 19-hour Taliban siege of Kabul ends, 14 dead

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Interior ministry spokesman Siddiqui previously said that three policemen were also killed, taking the overall toll to 14.

Cummings added, "We also have six (ISAF troops) wounded in action since Tuesday. Three of them were wounded during the main engagement off the ISAF compound... the other three were in support during clearing (of the main building.)"

The death toll covered the main attack plus several much smaller related ones which took place elsewhere in Kabul on Tuesday.

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Image: Afghan policemen carry a policeman who is a casualty at the site of an attack
Photographs: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
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IN PICS: 19-hour Taliban siege of Kabul ends, 14 dead

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"The last attackers are dead and the fighting all over. There were six terrorists in the building and all are dead," Siddiqui said.

But by holding the city hostage over two days in their longest attack on the capital yet, the insurgents demonstrated their increasing confidence with the latest in a string of attacks on Western targets in recent months.

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Image: Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of the attack
Photographs: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
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IN PICS: 19-hour Taliban siege of Kabul ends, 14 dead

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The raid was another sign that security has deteriorated sharply in Kabul, which was hit with a suicide bombing on the British Council cultural body last month and the storming of the luxury Intercontinental Hotel in June.

The latest standoff came to an end after helicopters from the NATO-led International ISAF were sent in to assist Afghan forces, but Siddiqui did not say how the last insurgents were killed.


Image: An Afghan policeman inspects the site
Photographs: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
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