Kabul: Four terrorists and a civilian were killed here on Tuesday after an 11-hour gun battle that began overnight following three huge blasts that left 35 to 43 people dead, officials said.
The two back-to-back explosions and then a third blast on Monday near the Defence Ministry also wounded over 90 people in the upscale Shahr-i-Naw neighbourhood of Kabul.
The Interior Ministry put the Monday death toll at 35 but Afghan media said as many as 43 may have died. The dead included a suicide bomber and several Defence Ministry officials.
Soon after the third explosion, the three remaining terrorists engaged security forces in a fierce gun battle that ended only on Tuesday morning, security officials said.
Security sources said the third blast was caused by a vehicle packed with explosives.
The Interior Ministry said the target of Monday night’s bombing in Kabul appeared to have been a charity, CARE (Pamlarana).
“One terrorist was killed after detonating a car bomb near Pamlarana, an NGO office building, late Monday and three attackers were killed by security forces during a counter-attack which ended Tuesday morning,” the ministry said in a statement.
Special Forces immediately launched an operation and rescued 42 civilians, including 10 foreigners, stuck in the area.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the audacious attack.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the incident and said Afghanistan’s enemies — an official terminology for Pakistan — have again showed that they were against Kabul’s development.
The White House strongly condemned the attack and voiced its support for “a more secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan”.
Pakistan too condemned the killings.
“We extend our profound condolences to the government and the people of Afghanistan and the families of those who lost their loved ones in this brutal terrorist attack,” it said.
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