Taliban Militants, Suicide Bombers Strike Fear in Downtown Kabul
January 18, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Teams of Taliban fighters armed with grenades, assault rifles and suicide bombs struck terror in the heart of the main shopping district of Kabul on Monday. The center of the Afghan capital is home to a popular four-story shopping mall, as well as the Presidential Palace, the Ministry of Justice and the Central Bank. The coordinated attacks led to a gun battle in the city streets between the militants and Afghan security forces that lasted for hours and sent residents fleeing in terror. The Taliban militants fought to the death, leaving at least four soldiers and one civilian dead and dozens of wounded. A Taliban spokesman said the attack was in response to recent proposals to “reintegrate” Taliban fighters into mainstream society. The spokesman said, “we are showing that we are not for sale.”
According to the account by The New York Times, the Taliban fighters staged a two-pronged assault, simultaneously attacking the Central Bank and the crowded Faroshga Market. A suicide bomber ignited his bombs on the street in front of the bank, while militants cleared out the shopping mall and fired from the roof.
With another suicide bomber driving an ambulance, there was panic in the streets as Afghan commandos fought to keep the militants away from government buildings:
“As the gun battle raged, another suicide bomber — this one driving an ambulance — struck a traffic circle a half-mile away, sending a second mass of bystanders fleeing in terror.Five hours after the attack began, gunfire was still echoing through the downtown, as commandos cornered the last holdouts in a nearby office building.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, “We are ready to fight, and we have the strength to fight, and nobody from the Taliban side is ready to make any kind of deal. The world community and the international forces are trying to buy the Taliban, and that is why we are showing that we are not for sale.”
The attack had it’s intended effect of disrupting the city center and striking fear in the people. The popular shopping mall was left in ruins and the city’s shops and office buildings were emptied.
See the New York Times for more.
Photo Source: ZaraAt