[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Deadly attack in centre of Afghan capital

Taliban claims responsibility for attack that officials say killed two security guards and five fighters.
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2013 14:48
Officials said two guards were killed and dozens of civilians injured in Wednesday's attack [AP]

Two guards and five fighters have been killed in a suicide attack on the national headquarters of the National Directorate of Security, NDS, Afghanistan's spy agency, officials said.

"There were five attackers involved. The first detonated a car bomb at the gate, the other four were shot dead by police and NDS guards as they approached," Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the ministry of interior, said.

Sediqqi added that 30 people, including civilians, were wounded in Wedneday’s attack.

In a text message to AFP the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that "a large number of intelligence workers were killed and wounded". However, in an earlier report, the Reuters news agency, said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the group, said the Taliban was "unaware" of the attack.

A senior police officer said two guards from the National Directorate of Security intelligence agency were killed and others wounded.

Hamid Karzai, Afghan president, congratulated the "bravery and speed" with which Afghan forces responded to the attack.

Reporting from Kabul, Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith said, “We understand this was planned to be a large scale assault on the headquarters of Afghanistan’s intelligence department.”

Smith added that the attack happened in a very busy area of the Afghan capital and nearby shop windows were all shattered as a result of the attacks. 

Wednesday's attack marks the second targeting the spy agency of the Central Asian nation. In December, Asadullah Khalid, NDS chief, was severely injured in an assassination attempt at one of the agency's guest houses in the Afghan capital.

The agency has been accused of torture by human rights groups and former prisoners.

Gunshots continued to ring out throughout the heavily guarded neighbourhood about half an hour later as a plume of smoke rose into the sky.

300

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.