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Afghan Forces End 11-Hour Siege after Suicide Attacks in Kabul | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Afghan policeman stands at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Afghan security forces ended an 11-hour siege in central Kabul on Tuesday after shooting dead the last of a group of gunmen who struck from a charity office just hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing and injuring several civilians and security personnel.

Security forces closed off the city center as they battled three attackers, who barricaded themselves inside an office belonging to Pamlarena, the aid group Care International, for several hours.

The assault began on Monday with a suicide bombing in Kabul near the Defense Ministry that killed 35 people, including several security officials, and injured 103. Another official said the deputy head of President Ashraf Ghani’s personal protection force had also been killed.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for that attack.

Just hours after that attack, a car bomb went off in Share Naw, a prosperous business and residential area of the capital. This was followed by the three gunmen barricading themselves inside the office of Care International. The exact target of the attack is not yet known.
After the stand-off between Afghan security officials and the gunmen ended, the spokesman of the Interior Ministry Sediq Sediqqi said the security forces had killed all of the attackers in the Share Naw area.

Care International said in a statement that its staff were safely evacuated from the office.
Rafi Ullah, a security guard near the Care International office was walking in the area when the blast went off.
“Right after the explosion, a huge flame rose and everything was covered with smoke, and then Afghan security forces arrived and blocked the area,” Ullah said.

Togrul Big, who lives near the Care International office and suffered a hand injury in the car bomb blast, said: “When the explosion happened, all of our windows broke and for a minute I thought that the house had collapsed on us.”

The double bombing came less than two weeks after the American University in Kabul was attacked and 13 people were killed. It was the worst attack in the capital since at least 80 people were killed by a suicide bomber who targeted a demonstration on July 23, an attack claimed by ISIS.

The violent episode highlighted the unstable security situation in Kabul just a month before a conference in Brussels where international donors are expected to vow to keep providing financial support to Afghanistan.

The ability of the Taliban to conduct several coordinated attacks in Kabul over a short period of time has put a lot of pressure on the Western-backed Afghan government which struggles to reassure its people that it can guarantee their safety and security.