Rockets Fired Toward U.S. Embassy In Afghanistan

Insurgents fired rockets and assault rifles in the direction of the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other official buildings Tuesday as gunfire and explosions rocked the heart of the Afghan capital. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

NPR’s Quil Lawrence reported from Kabul that he saw attackers running into one of the government buildings.

“They set off what sounded like three possibly suicide blasts before rushing to the building, and they’re now raining down rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire across both the U.S. embassy compound and the large compound which holds the … NATO headquarters here in the center of the diplomatic district in Kabul.”

Police said gunmen were firing from a tall office building that is under construction at Kabul’s Abdul Haq square, which is about 300 yards from the U.S. Embassy. American officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The surge of violence was a stark reminder of the instability that continues to plague Afghanistan nearly a decade after the U.S. invasion that ousted the Taliban in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.

The American Embassy is on the edge of the Wazir Akbar Khan area, and gunfire and explosions rocked the area, which is home to a number of other foreign missions.

At least one rocket landed on a building housing privately owned Tolo TV and another near a minivan carrying school children. At least four Afghans were wounded, according to Associated Press reporters on the scene.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said a number of suicide bombers were attacking Afghan and foreign soldiers at the square. He claimed in a text message that suicide bombers using assault rifles were attacking the offices of the Afghan intelligence service.

NPR’s Quil Lawrence reported from Kabul, Afghanistan, for this story, which contains material from The Associated Press.

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