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Taliban attacks Kabul, seizes traffic police building

Kabul, Jan 21, 2013 (IANS):
A Norwegian soldier with the NATO-led forces runs near the Kabul traffic police headquarters during insurgents' attack, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Taliban insurgents wearing suicide vests attacked the headquarters before dawn Monday, police said, and eyewitnesses heard numerous explosions while a gun battle was still raging nearly four hours later. AP Photo

The Taliban Monday seized the traffic police office in the Afghan capital Kabul following a suicide attack in which at least two militants were involved.

The heavily armed gunmen, who took over the four-storey office, fired on other police facilities in the vicinity, police said.

"The counter-attack is still going on. Our police forces reached the top of the building. They are trying to kill or capture the gunmen numbered three to four who seized the building earlier this morning," General Mohammad Zhair, head of the anti- criminal department of Kabul police, told journalists.

The attack took place at about 5.50 a.m. in the building locating in Dehmazang intersection. At least six people, including four traffic police officers, were wounded in the incident, said Zhair.

At least two militants were killed as they set off their explosive vests in the main gate of the compound enabling other gunmen to enter the building. The rebels started firing against nearby Afghan Border Police and Civil Order Police facilities.

The sporadic firing could be heard in the area nearly four hours after the attack and parts of the building caught fire sending up a thick black smoke, a Xinhua reporter near the site said.

The militants are using rocket propelled grenade and the heavy weapons to fight the Afghan police and commandos in the area.

Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Special operation police forces and Afghan commandos rushed to the site shortly after the fighting begun, a witness told Xinhua.

Security forces have cordoned off the area.

The attack is the latest in a string of bombings that have targeted military and civilian compounds across the country.

On Jan 16, Taliban carried out a coordinated suicide bombing against Afghan intelligence agency compound in Kabul, killing one security officer and wounding 33 civilians.


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