Deadly car bomb rips through diplomatic area of Kabul

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2015 9:55 PM
Deadly car bomb rips through diplomatic area of Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Explosions and gunfire rocked a diplomatic area of central Kabul overnight as security forces tried to flush out Taliban attackers who claimed responsibility for a deadly car bomb Friday.

Spain said one of its police officers was killed in the bombing. Hours later, the U.N. Security Council issued a condemnation that said an Afghan policeman had been killed as well. Seven civilians were wounded.

Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi said the car bomb struck near a foreign guesthouse in Shir Pur, an area with embassies and other diplomatic buildings seen as one of the safer parts of the Afghan capital.

Two attackers were killed but three or four others were hiding in the guesthouse, deputy Kabul police chief Gul Agha Rouani said. He said three Spaniards were rescued and there were no other foreigners remaining in the building. It was not clear if the guesthouse belonged to the Spanish Embassy.

The operation was ongoing, Salangi said early Saturday. "It's not finished," he said. "The attackers are still resisting."

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said a Spanish police officer was killed, after saying earlier that the attack happened near the Spanish Embassy but did not target it. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said seven civilians were wounded and confirmed that a foreign security guard was killed.

The U.N. Security Council statement gave no details on the Afghan policeman.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the initial massive explosion that shook buildings in the area Friday, with spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid saying it was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Shir Pur resident Mohammad Zaman said the explosion, which sent a giant cloud of smoke into the sky, was so powerful it broke his glasses.

In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said U.S. personnel in Kabul assisted the Afghans in responding to the explosion. He said the U.S. condemns what he described as a violent terrorist action.

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Associated Press writers Alan Clendenning in Madrid and Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.