KABUL) agent were killed and 17 civilians wounded in a brazen attack and gunfire in front of the Afghan intelligence service office in Kabul on Wednesday afternoon.
One of the Taliban bombers detonated his explosives-laden car in front of the agency entrance near the Sadarat Square, with the rest being shot dead by security personnel, police said.
An intelligence agent was killed and 17 civilians were wounded, four of them seriously, the deputy spokesman for the intelligence service, Shafiqullah Tahiri, told a news conference after the attack, claimed by the Taliban.
Six bombers equipped with suicide vests, explosives, Kalashnikovs and two cars wanted to attack the high-security directorate. One of them detonated his van in a bid to enable the five others to enter the compound.
But they were shot dead by police and intelligence operatives, Tahiri said, adding water jell explosives were used for the first time-ever in a bomb attack in the country. An investigation into the incident is underway.
Several shops and vehicles were damaged as a result of the blast, said Ministry of Interior spokesman Ghulam Siddique Siddiqui, who explained one person was killed and 33 others, including security personnel, wounded.
He said the attack involved five bombers, two of them in explosives-packed pickups. One assailant managed to detonate his vehicle, while the second pickup was captured by security official.
The insurgents had placed a time bomb in the second vehicle, but security personnel defused jut in the neck of time, according the spokesman, who said the device was to go off three minutes later.
The bombing took place in front of the agency gate, killing and wounding several people, including intelligence agents, said a shopkeeper in the area, Hasibullah.
Director-General of Kabul Hospitals Dr. Kabir Amiri said five of the injured were evacuated to hospital. At least one injured man was taken to the Kabul Emergency Hospital, according to another official, who did not want to be named.
Windowpanes of nearby shops and buildings in upscale Shahr-i-Naw locality were smashed as a result of the heavy blast.
As usual, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the NDS headquarters, the second in less than two months. The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a large number of intelligence agents were killed and wounded.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone from an undisclosed location that the attackers struck when intelligence officials and their foreign advisors were coming out of a meeting.
On Dec. 6, a suicide bomber blew himself up at an NDS guesthouse in Taimani area, seriously wounding spymaster Asadullah Khalid. He is currently under treatment at a hospital in the United States.
Wrecked cars and columns of smoke were seen in front of the heavily-fortified NDS headquarters, which is located near the so-called Green Zone.
President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the organised suicide attack in a statement, praising Afghan security forces for risking their lives to protect civilians.
Karzai said the subsequent courageous retaliation by Afghan forces resulted in the death of all attackers and prevention of a second blast.
The attackers had exited a car from the NDS compound and packed it with explosives, but security officials were able to kill the five hijacking the car. It was later defused.
“The terrorists would not only fail to reach their targets, they would be defeated by the brave sons of the soil,” he said, offering his condolences to families of the slain NDS agents and praying for early recovery of the injured.