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Taliban attackers dead, foreigners rescued in Kabul standoff

December 12, 2015 09:48 IST

An hours-long armed standoff with Taliban fighters near the Spanish embassy in Kabul ended Saturday morning with all four attackers dead, a police commander said.

The special forces commander said four foreigners were rescued from a safe room in the guesthouse after the standoff ended and the building around 6:20 am Saturday local time.

He added however, that a Spanish security officer was killed in the attack and at least seven people were being treated in a nearby hospital run by Italian aid group emergency, largely for minor injuries.

On Friday night, Taliban attackers detonated a car bomb outside the guesthouse and stormed the building, and then exchanged fire with security forces, officials said.

Three attackers on a roof were shot and killed by the police and a fourth blew himself up in the car bomb attack, the commander said.

Three security guards were killed in the initial explosion, the commander said. Seven others were injured, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

The attack occurred in Kabul’s Shirpour neighbourhood, which serves as the city’s de facto diplomatic enclave. It features several foreign embassies, non-governmental organizations, and a significant expatriate community.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday said the attack in Kabul’s diplomatic district was not targeted at the country’s embassy, contradicting earlier statements by the foreign ministry and local police.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, just days after President Ashraf Ghani returned from a regional peace conference in Pakistan, where he sought support to revive peace talks that had stalled this year.

It followed a separate Taliban attack on the airport complex in the southern city of Kandahar, in which at least 50 civilians and security forces personnel were killed. 

Image: Members of Afghan Crisis Response Unit arrive at the site of a Taliban attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul. A loud explosion rocked Kabul on Friday in a heavily protected area close to many foreign embassies and government buildings. Photograph: Omar Sobhani/Reuters

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