Afghanistan hit by string of Taliban attacks
Kabul’s diplomatic district attacked, British convoy hit, and army base assaulted as violence spirals.
A Taliban suicide blast rocked a Kabul district that houses many embassies and foreign compounds, just hours after a suicide attack on a British embassy vehicle killed at least six people.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the Afghan capital, said an exchange of gunfire and several other blasts swiftly followed the initial bombing late on Thursday.
“The attack happened in Street Number 15, in an area called Wazir Akbar Khan, a diplomatic area,” Stratford said. “A witness tells us there was an explosion followed by gunfire and four more smaller explosions.”
A gunman involved in the attack was later found and shot dead by security forces, our correspondent said.
The Taliban confirmed to Al Jazeera that it was behind the attack and the subsequent gunfight, saying the target was a guesthouse often used by foreigners.
The country’s deputy interior minister said one foreign resident was injured.
A Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera the attack was carried out in response to recent security agreements, under which foreign troops will remain in the country to fight the Taliban and train the Afghan army.
In a separate development on Thursday evening, Taliban fighters launched a coordinated attack on Shorabak army base in the southern Helmand Province, provincial officials told Al Jazeera.
Shorabak, formerly known as Camp Bastion, was handed over by the UK to Afghan forces last month and comprises an airbase located northwest of the city of Lashkar Gah. The base houses barracks for the Afghan National Army.
British convoy attacked
Earlier in the day, another Taliban suicide bomber rammed his explosives-packed car into a British embassy vehicle in Kabul, killing one Briton and five Afghans in the latest attack to highlight fragile security as NATO troops withdraw.
|British embassy vehicle hit in Kabul attack|
Attacks across Kabul have increased in recent weeks as US-led NATO forces prepare to wrap up a 13-year combat mission against the Taliban.
At least eight blasts have hit the capital in the last 10 days, including attacks on foreign compounds and on a female Afghan member of parliament who was injured in a suicide bombing that targeted her car.
Fears are growing that Afghanistan could tip into a cycle of violence, as the NATO military presence declines, with the national security forces already suffering high battlefield casualties.
Afghanistan suffered its deadliest attack of 2014 on Sunday when a suicide bomber struck at a volleyball match in the eastern province of Paktika, killing 57 people.
About 12,500 foreign troops are set to stay on into 2015 to train and support the Afghan army and police after the NATO combat mission comes to a close at the end of the year.