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Taliban Storm UN Office In Kabul

Afghan and international special forces run to the site of a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in Kabul on May 24.
KABUL -- Police say Taliban gunmen have targeted a UN compound in central Kabul in a coordinated attack that included explosions and a gunbattle.

Jumbe Omari Jumbe, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the attack on May 24 targeted their office in Kabul.

"Two grenades caused a fire in the building and four of our IOM staff were injured in the explosion, one of them seriously, by the grenades which were thrown into the building."

He says that three of the injured were Afghan security guards while one was a female Italian staff member, who was reported to have been badly burned by a grenade.

Two guards were killed in the attack and thirteen police were wounded. All six attackers were killed in the fighting.

Jumbe indicated that the IOM will continue working in Afghanistan.

"We have been working in Kabul for some time now, over 10 years," he said. "I think we have lots of programs there involving the reintegration of people who have come back from refugee status and migration, and these programs should go on to help the Afghan people. So, I would say the programs of IOM will continue."

In phone calls to media organizations, a purported Taliban spokesman has claimed responsibility for the assault saying it started with a suicide car bomb attack.

The international coalition condemned the attack and praised the work of the Afghan forces, saying that international personnel provided only medical support.

Kabul city resident Khalid Yosufi told reporters that such attacks terrify civilians.

"Every day before I leave home for work, I think to myself, 'Will I be able to get to my office safe and sound?'" he said. "And likewise, when I leave work, I keep thinking, 'Will I safely get back to my family?' This anxiety and fear exist in every household and in the hearts and minds of those residing in the city of Kabul. Suicide attacks and explosions, which no one can predict, especially have a profoundly negative effect on the public."

The attack came eight days after a suicide bombing in Kabul killed 15 people including six Americans on May 16.

Taliban insurgents have repeatedly attacked high-profile Afghan and international offices in the city with coordinated suicide attacks and gunbattles.

With reporting by dpa, AFP, AP, and Reuters