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Taliban suicide bombers attack Afghan police compound in Kabul

January 20, 2013|By Alexandra Zavis and Hashmat Baktash
  • Smoke rises from the scene where Taliban insurgents wearing suicide vests attacked the traffic police headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan
Smoke rises from the scene where Taliban insurgents wearing suicide vests… (Musadeq Sadeq / Associated…)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Gunmen armed with suicide vests stormed the headquarters of the Kabul traffic department before dawn Monday, setting off a firefight that continued hours later, officials said.

Initial reports indicated that at least 10 people were injured, including four police officers and six civilians, said Gen. Mohammad Ayob Salangi, the city's police chief.

The assault began about 5:30 a.m., when one of the assailants blew himself up at the entrance gate to the compound in western Kabul, Salangi said in a statement. Two or three other insurgents managed to get inside, he said.

Earlier, Salangi had said the attackers also detonated a powerful car bomb at the entrance. But that explosion was not mentioned in the statement. Officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Security forces surrounded the area and were attempting to regain control of the compound. Part of the main building was on fire, the statement said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent to journalists, saying "heavy fighting is ongoing."

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alexandra.zavis@latimes.com

Baktash is a Times special correspondent.

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