Suicide bombers attacked two police stations in Afghanistan’s capital, and then battled security forces from buildings they occupied in the latest spate of violence.
At least five people were killed and 16 wounded in the Wednesday’s attacks, said health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Majroh, adding that the casualty toll was likely to rise.
Eight suicide bombers took part in the attacks, one of which was claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the other by the Taliban, Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak said.
However, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency blamed the Taliban’s Haqqani network and Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba for both attacks.
In the first incident in western Kabul, assailants hurled hand grenades and blew themselves up, setting part of the police station on fire, Barmak said, adding a third suicide bomber was shot and killed by police.
Two police were killed in the attack and two police and a civilian were wounded. ISIL claimed the attack in a brief statement carried by its Aamaq news agency.
The second attack unfolded in the city centre, where a suicide bomber struck the entrance to a police station in order to clear the way for another four bombers.
Barmak said “two or three” more attackers were holed up in a nearby building, trading fire with security forces.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to media.
Afghanistan’s Western-backed government is fighting an intensifying war with both the Taliban and the ISIL group, that has turned much of Kabul into a high-security zone of concrete blast walls and razor wire.
The Afghan capital has seen an increase in bombings and other attacks against security forces and civilians since the Taliban announced the beginning of their spring offensive on April 25.
Fighting traditionally picks up in Afghanistan as warmer weather melts snow in mountain passes, allowing fighters to move around more easily.
Twin suicide bombings claimed by ISIL last week killed at least 25 people, including 10 journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack. This was the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.