KABUL: The Taliban bombed a British embassy vehicle in the Afghan capital Kabul on Thursday morning, killing five people, and attacked a foreign compound in the city centre in the evening, officials and witnesses said.
The suicide attack on the British embassy car in the east of the Afghan capital killed two embassy workers including one Briton and wounded more than 30 others in the vicinity of the explosion, officials said.
The second blast, targeting a compound run by a contractor for the US aid agency in Afghanistan, shook buildings in the diplomatic quarter and was followed by an hour-long gun battle between insurgents and Afghan security forces.
One foreign national was injured and two suicide bombers were killed in the second attack, which started when a car loaded with explosives detonated outside the guesthouse just after 7pm, according to security officials.
“There are no casualties among the Afghan security forces and the foreigners are in a safe room,” said the commander of 111 Military Corps Kabul, Qadam Shah Shaheem.
A Western security official said the explosion failed to breach the compound walls, which were well fortified.
Thursday’s incidents were the latest in a wave of bombings to hit the city as the majority of foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year.
Taliban insurgents, who were ousted from power by a US-led coalition in 2001, claimed responsibility for both attacks, saying the embassy car bomb “targeted foreign invading forces”, while the compound was an “important centre of the enemy”.
Attacks aimed at foreign diplomats and civilians are less common than the daily strikes against Afghan and international military forces on the country’s roads.
More than 4,600 Afghan police and army personnel have been killed in the war against the Taliban since the start of the year, a figure recently described by a top U.S. general in Afghanistan as unsustainably high.