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Insurgents Attack Kabul Airport

  • RFE/RL

KABUL -- An attack on the main airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, by Taliban insurgents has ended following a long gunbattle.

Kabul police chief Ayub Salangi told journalists all the attackers had been killed by Afghan security forces.

"The number of the enemy in the area was seven. Two of them carried out suicide attacks and five other enemies have been killed by security forces," Salangi said. "As of now, the moment I am talking to you, thank God, security forces have not suffered any casualties.”

The airport is also the site of NATO command headquarters.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid earlier said the Taliban had launched the attack and were targeting NATO.

However, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi disputed the Taliban spokesman’s claim.

"It seems their main aim was to kill or injure civilians," Sediqi said. "The site of the attack is a residential area north of the airport. The Taliban spokesman’s claim that they have targeted the military guard [at the airport] is simply a lie. [The Taliban] are always lying and deceiving the people."

Kabul police said that insurgents wearing suicide vests had taken over one or two buildings under construction near the airport and from there had launched their assault on the NATO headquarters at the airport.

Police said they were searching the surrounding area for insurgents.

The attack began at 4:30 a.m. local time and caused authorities to cancel all flights in and out of Kabul's international airport.

The airport was reopened shortly after the incident was over.

Officials said there was no damage to the runway or the airport itself.

Also on June 10, the Taliban took credit for an attack on the provincial council in the southern Zabul Province that injured at least 18 people. The attackers were killed.

The Taliban has launched several major attacks in the capital and elsewhere in the country since the militant group announced its "spring offensive" against foreign military bases and diplomatic posts in April.

At least three people were killed when six suicide bombers attacked a guest house of the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration in Kabul on May 24.

On May 16, a suicide car-bomb attack that targeted a NATO convoy killed at least 15 people, including two U.S. soldiers and four civilian contractors in the capital.


With reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan
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