Taliban Militants Raid Presidential Palace in Kabul
AL JAZEERA (QATAR), BBC NEWS (UK), REUTERS, AFP
KABUL – At least seven people were killed Tuesday morning in the Afghan capital, after Taliban militants attacked buildings near the Presidential palace, the BBC reports, casting further doubt on the recently announced peace talks with the insurgents.
According to a Reuters reporter at the scene, the attack began soon after 6:30 a.m. local time (02:00 GMT), when a man opened fire in front of the Presidential palace gates with an automatic rifle. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for this attack, which happened as reporters were arriving for a press conference with President Hamid Karzai.
Several bombings ensued in the neighborhood, where the defense ministry and the Ariana Hotel, the CIA's Afghan station, are also located. The explosions were followed by about 90 minutes of small arms fire, as attackers and police engaged in a gun battle, Al Jazeera reports. Officials say four insurgents and three security guards died during the raid.
This move on the part of the Taliban casts further doubt on the issue of the peace process, Reuters writes. Last week, U.S. officials tried to give a fresh start peace talks in Qatar, but these were quickly derailed after the Afghan president Karzai decided to boycott the meeting with the insurgents.
Also on Tuesday morning, a roadside bomb killed eight women and a child in southern Afghanistan, as they were on their way to celebrate a wedding engagement, AFP reports.