Accessibility links

Breaking News

Security Forces Continue To Battle Militants At Kabul Government Compound

An Afghan police officer at the site of the attack in Kabul.

Security forces in the Afghan capital, Kabul, continue to battle with militants who earlier in the day stormed a government compound.

An unknown number of militants on December 24 raided the compound where the Public Works Ministry and several other government offices are located in the eastern part of the city, officials said.

It remained unclear how many people had been killed or injured. AFP reported one police officer killed and quoted the Afghan Health Ministry as saying 16 people had been taken to the hospital with injuries.

Security forces said they had freed more than 300 people who were in the compound when it was attacked.

Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told journalists that three attackers had been killed by security forces, while a fourth died in a suicide car-bomb attack that started the incident.

"There are still some hostages with the enemy and a clearance operation is going on," Rahimi said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

The attack began in the afternoon when a vehicle was exploded at the entrance to the compound. There were reports of a second blast, but its nature was unclear.

Journalists reported ongoing exchanges of gunfire hours after the initial attack.

The incident was the 22nd attack in Kabul since January. In all, more than 500 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in attacks in the capital this year.

On December 20, an official in the United States said President Donald Trump was planning to pull at least 5,000 U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in the near future. That news came one day after Trump said he would withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops currently in Syria.

U.S. forces make up the bulk of the international Resolute Support mission that is training and advising Afghan security forces in their fight against the Taliban and Islamic State militants.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa