Afghan forces end Kabul airport attack

Interior ministry says all seven attackers killed in Afghan capital following assault on main airport.

A coordinated suicide and grenade attack on the Kabul airport has ended with all seven attackers being killed, the Afghan interior ministry has said.

The Taliban earlier claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack on Monday, telling Al Jazeera that the target was the military airport.

“There were seven assailants…two (suicide bombers) died detonating themselves and five others were killed in fighting,” Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, chief of Kabul police, said.

“There have not been any casualties to the security forces, and we have not received any report of civilian casualties so far,” he said.

Loud explosions and bursts of small-arms fire were heard during the attack, with the US embassy sounding its “duck and cover” alarm and its loudspeakers warning that the alarm was not a drill.

Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from the Afghan capital, said that a large police reinforcement was rushed to the airport which is shared by civilians and the NATO-led international force.  

She also reported that the Kabul international airport was reopened, after all national and international flights were stopped for several hours.

Two of the hangars were damaged in the attack.

The attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns took up positions in a building, which was under construction.

In the past, the Taliban has taken over buildings that are under construction to launch coordinated attacks.

The NATO-led coalition said that some international forces were involved in the military response to quell the attack.

“There were personnel from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with Afghan forces but Afghan forces led the operation,” a coalition spokesman told AFP news agency.

Al Jazeera’s Glasse said that one “troubling” development in the latest attack was that the attackers used rocket launchers with a range of up to 3km.

In a separate attack in Zabul, southern Afghanistan, Afghan forces killed six men who blew up a car bomb and assaulted the intelligence department in the city of Qalat.

Previous attack

Kabul came last under attack on May 24, when Taliban fighters launched a coordinated suicide and gun attack on a compound of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

A policeman, two civilians and all four assailants died in that attack, with the government lauding the response of the Kabul security forces for preventing further casualties.

The effectiveness of Afghan forces is crucial to the government’s ability to defeat the Taliban fighters as 100,000 NATO-led combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

The police, army and special forces are being trained by the international coalition, but there are widespread fears that they will not be able to impose security after 12 years of war.


Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies