Gunmen attack Kabul TV station after explosion

Agence France-Presse in Kabul | Tuesday 7 November 2017

 

Incident at Shamshad TV follows series of recent attacks by the Taliban and Isis in Afghan capital

Afghan security personnel take up a position near the Shamshad TV compound. Photograph: Rahmat Gul/AP

 

Gunmen have attacked a private television station in Kabul after breaking into the building following an explosion.

Many staff were still inside, an employee told AFP, describing the attack as ongoing.

“I saw three attackers on security cameras entering the TV station building. They first shot the guard and then entered the building. They started throwing grenades and firing,” said Faisal Zaland, a reporter from Shamshad TV, who escaped through a back door.

Shamshad, a Pashto-language station that broadcasts across Afghanistan, was transmitting a holding image instead of its normal programming.

Zaland said security forces were in the area of the Shamshad compound in the Afghan capital “trying to bring down the attackers”.

“Many of my colleagues are still in the building,” he added.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, denied in a Twitter post that the militant group was involved in the attack. The interior ministry said it was investigating the incident but had no further details.

Kabul has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks as the Taliban and Islamic State insurgents step up offensives against security installations and mosques.

Last Tuesday, a suicide bomber, believed to have been as young as 12, struck Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic quarter and killed at least five people, showing that militants can still hit the heart of the city.

Security in Kabul has been ramped up since 31 May when a truck bomb went off on the edge of the “Green Zone”. About 150 people were killed and 400 others were wounded.

Special truck scanners, barriers and permanent and mobile checkpoints have been rolled out across the city.

The last major assault in Kabul was on 21 October when a suicide attacker hit a bus carrying Afghan army trainees, killing 15 people.

A day earlier, a suicide bomber pretending to be a worshipper blew himself up inside a Shia mosque in the city during evening prayers, killing 56 and wounding 55.

This month, Kabul police stopped a lorry carrying 2,700kg of explosives hidden under boxes of tomatoes, averting a potentially deadly blast.

 

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