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Deadly Blast, Gunfire in Central Kabul

by Ayaz Gul December 11, 2015

A bombing and gunfire struck a diplomatic area of Kabul Friday night, killing at least two people, according to police, and injuring several others.

Emergency officials said the attack took place about 6 p.m. local time in the Afghan capital's Sherpor neighborhood.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told VOA a guesthouse was attacked because it was being used for military activities and intelligence sharing.

'We had been watching it for a long time and finally attacked it today. A large group of our Mujahideen assaulted this important target. It started with one of our men blowing up an explosives-laden car allowing others to enter the facility. A number of foreigners were present inside the building,' Mujahid said.

The insurgent claims could not be verified.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi tweeted that a car bomb appeared to be the source of the explosion. Heavy gunfire followed the explosion, and a reporter near the scene said police reported at least three attackers were involved.

Initial reports said the attack may have targeted the Spanish embassy. But a short time later, a spokesman for Spain's Office of the Presidency told VOA that according to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the attack was not aimed at the embassy, but at nearby buildings.

He added that a Spanish police officer had died in the explosions, noting that large bomb blasts normally impact more than just the intended target.

A nearby hospital run by an Italian charity said on Twitter it had received seven injured people.

Friday's attack in Kabul followed a 27-hour siege of an airport in southern Kandahar on Tuesday and Wednesday. At least 10 armed Taliban fighters equipped with suicide belts took part in the attack, which left 54 people dead, including 39 civilians.

In a separate incident Friday in Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan, an Afghan intelligence operative, a foreigner and her three children were killed by a bomb blast.

Alberto Pimienta and VOA's Afghan news service contributed to this report.

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