At least 7 Killed in blasts in Afghan capital, as Taliban says attacks a response to Obama's visit
KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide car bomber and Taliban militants disguised in burqas attacked a compound housing hundreds of foreigners in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, killing seven people, officials and witnesses said.
The Taliban said the attack was a response to President Barack Obama's surprise visit just hours earlier.
At least 17 people were also wounded in the assault, most of them Afghan children on their way to school, the Interior Ministry said.
The second major assault in Kabul in less than three weeks, the attack highlights the Taliban's continued ability to strike in the heavily guarded capital even when the city is on its tightest security for a combination of events -- the Obama visit and Wednesday's anniversary of the killing of Usama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan.
The attack started around 6 a.m. in eastern Kabul with a series of explosions and gunfire ringing out from the privately guarded compound known as Green Village that houses hundreds of international contractors. Shooting and blasts continued for hours later as militants who had stormed into the compound held out against security forces, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
The area appeared to have calmed down by about 10 a.m. and NATO said all the attackers had been killed. The gate at the entrance of the Green Village was destroyed, with the wreckage of the suicide bomber's car sitting in front. The road running past the compound was littered with shoes, books, school supplies and the bloody ID card of a student from a nearby school.
The suicide car bomb that exploded near Jalalabad road -- one of the main thoroughfares out of the city -- was among the first blasts in Wednesday's attack, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi. A station wagon that was driving past was caught up in the explosion and four people inside were killed, Sediqi said. A passer-by and a Nepalese security guard were also killed, said Kabul Deputy Police Chief Daoud Amin. The seventh death was not identified.
A young man who saw the explosion said the dead pedestrian was one of his fellow classmates.
"I was walking to school when I saw a very big explosion. A car exploded and flames went very high into the air," said 21-year-old Mohammad Wali. "Then I saw a body of one of my classmates lying on the street. I knew it was a suicide attack and ran away. I was so afraid."
A local resident who saw the attack unfold said the attackers were disguised in burqas -- the head-to-toe robes worn by conservative Afghan women.
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