A car bomb explosion that was claimed by the Taliban hit a diplomatic area of central Kabul on Friday, killing a Spanish police officer and wounding seven civilians. The area was rocked by at least five more explosions and gunfire overnight as security forces tried to flush out attackers.
Afghan deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi said the car bomb struck near a foreign guesthouse in Shir Pur, an area with embassies and other diplomatic buildings seen as one of the safer parts of the Afghan capital.
Two attackers were killed but three or four others were hiding in the guesthouse, deputy Kabul police chief Gul Agha Rouani said. He said three Spaniards were rescued and there were no other foreigners remaining in the building. It was not clear if the guesthouse belonged to the Spanish embassy.
The operation was ongoing, Salangi said. “It’s not finished,” he said. “The attackers are still resisting.”
The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said a Spanish police officer was killed, after saying earlier that the attack happened near the Spanish embassy but did not target it. Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said seven civilians were wounded and confirmed that a foreign security guard was killed.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the initial massive explosion that shook buildings in the area on Friday, with spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid saying it was carried out by a suicide bomber.
Shir Pur resident Mohammad Zaman said the explosion, which sent a giant cloud of smoke into the sky, was so powerful it broke his glasses.
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said US personnel in Kabul assisted the Afghans in responding to the explosion. He said the US condemns what he described as a violent terrorist action.