A group of suicide bombers of the Taliban equipped with explosive vests and guns targeted the British Council cultural center offices in Kabul today (local time), putting in motion a gun battle with security forces that lasted several hours, leaving eight Afghans dead. Sixteen others were also injured, excluding the suicide bombers, who were killed. The attack came as Afghans marked the 92nd anniversary of their independence from Great Britain.
COMMENT: The attack began when an explosives-filled sedan was detonated at the entrance to the British Council in Karte Parwan, a normally secure residential neighborhood in northwest Kabul that is home to senior government officials including first vice president Mohammad Qaseem Fahim and Karzai's main political rival, Abdullah Abdullah. The Taliban claimed the credit for the attack in a text message sent to the media.
Three Westerners — a South African and two Britons — were inside the compound when the attack occurred, but sought refuge in a safe-haven. Twin explosions shattered windows a third of a mile from the Council.
This attack is not a rarity for Kabul. On June 28 of this year, suicide bombers stormed the Inter-continental Hotel in the capital which killed seven and wounded eight. And on January 14, 2008, Kabul's five-star Serena Hotel was attacked terrorists disguised in police uniforms entered the hotel with small arms and explosive belts. Two Norwegians as did two hotel guards, a Filipina employee of the hotel and an American.
It is expected that as the draw-down of the Coalition approaches, more Taliban attacks are expected in Kabul.