Taliban attack on Afghan parliament injures 31 civilians
Smoke and flames rise from burning vehicles at the site of an attack in front of the Afghan Parliament building in Kabul on June 22, 2015. (AFP/Shah Marai)
A Taliban attack outside Afghanistan's parliament wounded 31 civilians on Monday.
All seven attackers were killed in a gunfight set off when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside the parliament compound in an attempted raid.
“Our hospitals have received only civilians, I am not sure on possible military causalities,” public health minister Firozuddin Feroz told Anadolu Agency.
Though the interior ministry denied reports that some MPs had been wounded, some inside parliament said MPs and staff had been hurt by broken glass.
“Some parts of the ceiling of the session hall collapsed following the blast and everywhere was full of smoke and dust,” Zabihullah Seerat, a parliamentary adviser, told Anadolu Agency.
The Taliban's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted parliament as it prepared for a vote of confidence on a new defense minister. The vote was being attended by Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danish.
After detonating their bomb, the attackers entered a building near the compound and began firing at the parliament.
Afghan MP Mohammad Arif Rahmani said there had been intelligence reports that Taliban would target parliament.
“Unfortunately, the barbaric attack targeted Afghanistan's democratic center," he said.
Last week, the Taliban rejected a request from Afghan clerics for a month-long ceasefire to respect holy month of Ramadan, and said they will intensify their attacks .
Despite reported informal talks between government representatives and the Taliban in Norway, Qatar and Dubai, the fighting in Afghanistan has escalated following the launch of the Taliban’s spring offensive in April.
Afghan security forces assumed full responsibility for security from NATO-led international security forces at the end of 2014, when foreign combat forces withdrew from the country.
By Zabihullah Tamanna