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Gunmen Storm Kabul TV Station In Ongoing Attack

Smoke billows from the scene after suspected militants attacked Shamshad Tv station in Kabul, November 7, 2017

KABUL -- Gunmen have stormed the private Kabul television station Shamshad TV and gunfire could be heard from within, police told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan.

Some journalists and employees of the TV channel managed to flee the building, an employee of the news channel told RFE/RL, but many staff were still inside, and the attack was ongoing.

At least three attackers entered the popular Pashto-language TV channel early on November 7 following an explosion, witnesses said.

Basir Mujahid, a Kabul police spokesman, said casualties were feared but he said the number was still unclear.

A tweet from the station's Twitter account said staffers reported several casualties inside the building. Staff members reached by telephone said up to five people appeared to have been killed.

One attacker was shot dead by guards, an unnamed security official said.

"I saw three attackers on security cameras entering the TV station building. They first shot the guard and then entered the building. They started throwing grenades and firing," Shamshad TV reporter Faisal Zaland, who escaped through a back door, told AFP.

As the attack unfolded, Shamshad TV stopped normal programming, transmitting only a still image.

There was no immediate indication of the identity of the attackers, but Taliban insurgents issued an immediate denial that they were involved.

Last year, a Taliban suicide bomber killed seven members of Afghanistan's largest private television station, Tolo.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters