Taliban claim multiple attacks on Kabul
Smoke rises from the site of an explosion and gun battle between Afghan forces and the Taliban. Photograph: (Reuters)
Afghan Taliban militants said they attacked police, military and intelligence targets in Kabul on Wednesday and security officials confirmed attacks in at least two areas of the city.
A resounding explosion was heard across the city followed immediately by gunfire between security forces and an unknown number of attackers in the west of Kabul.
The fighting was concentrated near a district police headquarters not far from a military training school, according to one police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media.
A security official said one attacker was barricaded inside the police building.
An official from the ministry of public health said one person had been killed and at least 35 people had been wounded
A separate attack appeared to have targeted an office of Afghanistan's intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security (NDS), on the eastern outskirts of Kabul. However a senior army official said that attack appeared to have been quickly suppressed.
"Two terrorists entered a building. One blew himself up and the second was shot by Afghan security forces," said Abdul Nasir Ziaee, commander of 111th corps based in the east of the city.
The Taliban, who sometimes exaggerate the impact of their operations, said the attacks had caused heavy casualties.
An official from the ministry of public health said one person had been killed in the attack on the NDS office while at least 35 people had been wounded and transferred to hospital in the attack on the police office in western Kabul.
Last month, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people outside the Supreme Court in Kabul. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for that attack.
The Taliban are seeking to expel foreign troops, defeat the U.S.-backed government and reimpose Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.
The Wednesday attacks come shortly ahead of the period when the Taliban usually announce a spring offensive, and underline warnings from Afghan officials that they faced a difficult year.
Government forces have struggled to control the insurgency since a NATO-led force ended its combat mission in 2014.
According to U.S. estimates, Afghan government forces now control less than 60 percent of the country although they hold all main provincial centres.