Nov 29, 2014 7:17 AM

Taliban raid foreign guesthouse in Afghan capital

The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a foreign guesthouse near parliament in the Afghan capital Saturday, the latest assault targeting foreigners as NATO troops withdraw from the country, witnesses and police said. It wasn't immediately clear if there were civilian casualties.

Three attackers stormed the building, with one blowing himself up and another shot by security forces, Interior Ministry spokesman Seddiq Sediqqi said. Another was believed to still be alive inside the compound, Sediqqi said.

It wasn't immediately clear who lives in the guesthouse. One witness said Europeans who worked as consultants to the Afghan government lived there, while others that it was home to Christian missionaries.

The Taliban said in a statement that it had launched the suicide attack on "a secret missionary center" in the city's west. The militants have waged a series of large-scale attacks on Kabul in recent days, including an assault in the upscale Wazir Akbar Khan district home to embassies and international agencies and the suicide bombing of a British embassy vehicle. There have been about a dozen attacks in the past two weeks alone.

Violence rages on outside of Kabul as well as U.S. and NATO troops are set to officially conclude their combat role in the country at the end of the year. On Saturday, Taliban attacks killed at least 11 Afghan soldiers in southern Helmand province, including one on a base once held by NATO forces, said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.

The Taliban has been launching assaults since Thursday on the base, once known as Camp Bastion until the British handed it over last month. Camp Bastion also once held Camp Leatherneck, a U.S. Marine base in the volatile southern province.

Zwak said the Bastion attack killed at least six Afghan soldiers and 20 Taliban fighters and wounded 10 Afghan soldiers. An assault ther Friday killed five soldiers and wounded seven.

The other attack, a suicide bombing targeting a military base in the province's Sangin district, killed five soldiers and wounded eight, he said.


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