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Taliban attack Afghan presidential palace all gunmen killed


Days after Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai raised objections about US-backed peace talks with the Taliban, the gunmen on Tuesday attacked the Afghan presidential palace, with explosions and gunfire shaking the centre of the country’s capital.

Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi told reporters at the scene that all three or four militants had died and no security forces personnel or civilians were killed, giving no further details.

A palace source told a news agency that the expansive grounds around the building had not been breached.

President Hamid Karzai, who lives in the palace, was due to hold a press event this morning and journalists had been asked to report to the building.

All roads to the palace are permanently closed off, with several rings of heavy security around the complex keeping people far away.

The Taliban say they have hit one of the most secure areas of the Afghan capital with a suicide attack, as a series of explosion rocked the gate leading into the presidential palace.

Smoke rose from the eastern gate of the palace early Tuesday after more than a half dozen explosions and at least 45 minutes of on-and-off small arms fire.

The Taliban sent a quick text-message statement saying “we brought death to the enemy.”

The gunmen reportedly clashed with Karzai’s bodyguards at the palace’s eastern gate and with security personnel at the Defence Ministry and a CIA station.

The palace is in a large fortified area of downtown Kabul that also includes the US embassy and the headquarters for the NATO-led coalition forces.

Reporters gathering for an event with President Hamid Karzai counted at least seven or eight explosions starting about 6:30 am.

The attack comes days after Karzai raised objections about US-backed peace talks with the Taliban.

Today’s attack comes a week after another suicide car bomb in Kabul targeted a foreign military convoy, killing 15 people including five Americans.

The Taliban announced their annual “spring offensive” on April 27, opening a crucial period as local security forces take the lead in the fight against the insurgents.

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