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Fighting in Kabul Ends After 18 Hours of Intense Gunfire

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Taliban attacks mark beginning of ‘Spring Offensive’ (NBC Nightly News, April 15, 2012) – The attacks on Western embassies in Kabul, the Afghan capital, raise questions about the competence of Afghan security forces. NBC’s Sohel Uddin reports. (01:30)

By Sohel Uddin, NBC News in Kabul; Alastair Jamieson, MSNBC.com; and Reuters

April 15, 2012

Heavy street fighting between militants and security forces in the center of the Afghan capital Kabul ended on Monday after 18 hours of intense gunfire, rocket attacks and explosions, police and government officials said.

Battles which broke out at mid-day on Sunday gripped the capital’s central districts through the night, with explosions and gunfire lighting up alleys and surrounding streets. …

The fighting at the parliament in the west of the city was the only pocket where militants were still resisting security forces. Earlier, at daybreak, security forces flushed out militants holed up near embassies in the heavily guarded diplomatic area. …

The assault by the insurgents, which began with attacks on embassies, a supermarket, a hotel and the parliament, is one of the most serious on the capital since U.S.-backed Afghan forces removed the Taliban from power in 2001. …

The attacks are retaliation for the burning of Qurans at a NATO base in February, the murders of 17 Afghans allegedly by an Army staff sergeant and videos that apparently show U.S. Marines urinating on dead Taliban [links added].

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for Sunday’s assaults, one of the most serious on the capital since U.S.-backed Afghan forces removed the group from power in 2001.

“These attacks are the beginning of the Spring Offensive [link added] and we had planned them for months,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters. …

The Taliban said the main targets were the German and British embassies and the headquarters of Afghanistan’s NATO-led force. …

The Afghan Ministry of Interior told NBC News that 11 suicide attackers were killed across Afghanistan by Afghan security forces. In total, 14 police and nine civilians were wounded, it said.

NBC News reported that police captured two attackers with suicide-bomb vests and destroyed a car full of explosives near the Afghan parliament. …

Taliban fighters also launched assaults in at least two provinces, a spokesman for the insurgents said. …

The assault appeared to repeat the tactics of an attack in Kabul last September [link added] when insurgents entered construction sites in several places to use them as positions for rocket and gun attacks. …

Two rockets hit a British Embassy guard tower near the Reuters office in the city.

Fighting was going on at some facilities of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and near the U.S., Russian and German embassies, ISAF said via Twitter. …

Three rockets hit a supermarket that is popular with foreigners near the German embassy, Reuters witnesses said. News channel Al Jazeera reported that smoke was seen rising from the German embassy. …

Attackers also fired rockets at the parliament building in the west of the city, and at the Russian embassy, a spokesman for the parliament said. …

Afghan media said insurgents had stormed the Star Hotel complex near the presidential palace and the Iranian embassy. Windows of the hotel were blown out and smoke billowed from the building.

In the eastern province of Paktia, NATO helicopter gunships attacked insurgents holed up in a building next to a construction site while in the eastern city of Jalalabad, a witness told Reuters that the Taliban had attacked a foreign force base near a school. …

Full story

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8/16/2012 Update

Dozens Killed in Afghan Suicide Bomber Attacks

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Deadly attacks in Afghanistan (NBC Nightly News, Aug. 14, 2012) – A wave of suicide bombings across the country has left dozens dead and more than 100 injured. NBC’s Brian Williams reports. (00:37)

By NBC News’ Atia Abawi and Reuters

August 14, 2012

Islamist suicide bombers targeted markets crowded with Ramadan shoppers and a major provincial hospital in Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 38 people and wounding close to 100. …

Suicide bombings in markets in the southwest province of Nimroz killed at least 28 people – 18 of them civilians and three policemen – and wounded over 70, police said, in the deadliest day of violence in the normally peaceful region since 2001. …

An Afghan policeman killed 11 colleagues in Nimroz province on Saturday, firing on them at a checkpoint in Dilaram district, adding to a recent spate of such killings that have alarmed NATO commanders and left 34 foreign soldiers dead.

Full story

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Related reports on this site

Image: A tracer bullet is shot during an attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel
A tracer bullet [more likely a rocket] is fired during an attack on the Kabul Inter-Continental Hotel. (Photo credit: Massoud Hossaini / AFP – Getty Images)

Deadliest Attack on U.S. in Kabul Since Afghan War Began (Oct. 30, 2011)

Daylong Taliban Siege of U.S. Embassy in Kabul (Sept. 13, 2011)

Gunbattle Rages for Hours in Kabul, Afghanistan (Aug. 20, 2011)

NATO Returns Fire in Kabul Siege (June 28, 2011)

Taliban Strikes in Heart of Kabul (Feb. 26, 2010)

Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010)

Afghan War Closes in on Kabul (Oct. 28, 2009)

NATO Headquarters in Afghanistan Attacked (Aug. 15, 2009)

Mumbai-Like Strike in Kabul (Feb. 12, 2009)

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2 Responses to “Taliban Launch Spring Offensive With Attacks Across Kabul”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » NATO Returns Fire in Kabul Siege Says:

    [...] Taliban Launch Spring Offensive With Attacks Across Kabul (April 17, 2012) [...]

  2. Immelman vs. Bachmann » Blog Archive » Al-Qaida’s No. 2 Leader Killed in Obama Drone Strike Says:

    [...] U.S. officials blame the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network for some of the boldest attacks in Afghanistan, including one on embassies and parliament in Kabul in April 2012 that lasted 18 hours, killing 11 Afghan security forces and four civilians. [...]

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