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Taliban Claims Kabul Attacks As Lawmakers OK Foreign Troop Deals

  • RFE/RL

A British security official (right) escorts a survivor from the wreckage of a British Embassy vehicle after a suicide attack in Kabul on November 27.

A British security official (right) escorts a survivor from the wreckage of a British Embassy vehicle after a suicide attack in Kabul on November 27.

Afghanistan's capital was the target of two Taliban attacks on November 27 -- the same day legislators approved deals allowing thousands of foreign troops to remain in the country.

A suicide bomber attacked a British Embassy vehicle, killing six people, including one British citizen.

More than 30 people were injured in the attack, which took place in the eastern part of the city on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the suicide bomber "targeted foreign invading forces."

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, speaking in Rome, said the attack was a reminder "of the risks that our personnel take every day in trying to help the Afghans to build a better future for their country."

Later on November 27, a second attack targeted Kabul's Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic district, which contains foreign embassies and international agencies, as well as the homes of some senior government officials.

A Taliban spokesman and the police said the target was a guesthouse.

Security forces locked down the area, where gunfire and explosions were heard for at least 45 minutes as security forces fought to clear the guesthouse.

Police said two militants were killed by police inside the building.

The attacks came as Afghanistan's upper house of the parliament approved agreements allowing some 12,500 foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond December 2014, when the bulk of the international NATO-led force is due to leave.

Kabul has come under attack almost daily as insurgents intensify their war on local security forces and U.S. and NATO troops.

A parliamentary media officer said only seven lawmakers -- out of 102 -- voted against the deals with the United States and separately with NATO.

The new Afghan government signed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States, and a similar pact with the North Atlantic alliance on September 30, and it was approved by the lower house of the parliament on November 23.

Meanwhile, in the country's north, police said an operation was under way to free at least 15 government officials kidnapped in Konduz Province.

Local police said the Taliban was behind the kidnapping of the employees of the Sherkhan Bandar Border Customs Office who were abducted late on November 26.

Police suspect the driver of the vehicle carrying the officials had links with the Taliban. There was no immediate comment from the militant group.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, BBC, AFP, and dpa
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