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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Troops Close In On Kabul Insurgents

Afghan and international forces are closing in on the last insurgents who attacked the US embassy, Nato HQ and police buildings in Kabul.

BBC correspondents in Kabul say gunfire can still be heard from a multi-storey building where gunmen are holed up.
Afghan officials say at least four policemen and two civilians were killed, as well as six insurgents.
The attack comes as US and other foreign troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan.
Nato and the US embassy said none of their staff were among the casualties.
The Taliban said it was behind the attack, although Afghan officials blamed the Haqqani network, an insurgent group linked to the Taliban but which operates independently.
As night fell, Afghan forces were working their way through the multi-storey building which overlooks the heavily fortified diplomatic quarter, exchanging fire with the remaining militants.
A spokesman said they had killed two insurgents but at least two others remained on the top floors late into the night.
US Army helicopters flew over the building and an Afghan army MI-35 attack helicopter has also opened fire on it.
Afghan intelligence officials are already going through the lower floors, gathering evidence about the way the assault was planned and carried out.
The attack began at about 13:30 local time (09:00 GMT) on Tuesday when a car packed with insurgents was stopped at a checkpoint at Abdul Haq Square about 300 metres from the US embassy.
Witnesses said there were several large explosions and the insurgents entered a nearby nine-storey building under construction.
From there, up to five militants opened fire on the embassy complex with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and possibly a mortar.
There was a simultaneous barrage of explosions around the nearby Wazir Akbar Khan area, witnesses said.
At the same time in the west of the city, two suicide attackers detonated explosives outside a police station.
A third was killed as he tried to make it into the airport. A jail run by the intelligence service was also a target.
A Taliban spokesman said the group was carrying out "a massive suicide attack on local and foreign intelligence facilities".
Haroun Mir, director of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Centre for Research and Policy Studies, said it was the first time that four groups of militants had attacked in four different places.
"This is new as previously we had one or maximum two attacks. The Haqqani network has the full support of al-Qaeda and has the capacity to execute sophisticated attacks. It is the only group with this capacity."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks, saying they would not deter Afghan forces from taking full responsibility for security by the time international combat troops withdraw.
"By carrying out such attacks terrorists cannot stop the transition of security from international to Afghan forces," he said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) handed over responsibility for security in seven areas of Afghanistan, including two provinces.

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