Seven killed as Taliban attacks Afghan parliament

Kabul, June 22 (IANS) All seven Taliban militants who staged a spectacular attack on the Afghan parliament here on Monday were killed in a gun battle with security forces that also left 21 people wounded.

Kabul Police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told the media that all the seven attackers had been killed, including one who first exploded his explosive-laden car, enabling the others to enter the parliament compound.

“One of the attackers was killed in the blast and the remaining were killed by security forces,” Rahimi said.

He confirmed there were injured people but failed to give figures, saying investigation was on.

Afghan media outlet Tolo News reported 21 civilians, including five women and three children, were injured in the horrific incident.

The attack on the parliament began with a suicide car bomb attack and was followed by gun shots during which windowpanes of several buildings in the vicinity were smashed.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack, insisting they had inflicted heavy casualties on the lawmakers. Officials in Kabul rejected the statement.

The attack occurred as the Afghan president’s nominee for the crucial post of defence minister was to be introduced in parliament.

“Several mujahideen have entered the parliament building, heavy fighting is on,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted earlier.

“The attack happened at a time when the defence minister was being introduced,” he added.

According to the media, some lawmakers were evacuated from the building while others remained holed up in the basement.

The Taliban has rebuffed requests from senior Afghan clerics to halt attacks during the fasting month of Ramadan as a surge in violence has sent civilian casualties soaring.

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