KABUL, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Taliban militants in the latest waves of violent strikes, carried out a series of commando-like attacks in downtown capital city Kabul Monday leaving 15 dead including 10 insurgents and over 60 others injured, Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The attackers, some of them armed with machine guns and suicide vests, according to Taliban purported spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, occupied a five-story superstore and Justice Ministry and conducted a suicide blast at the gate of Presidential Palace.

KABUL, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Taliban militants in the latest waves of violent strikes, carried out a series of commando-like attacks in downtown capital city Kabul Monday leaving 15 dead including 10 insurgents and over 60 others injured, Defense Ministry said in a statement.

 

The attackers, some of them armed with machine guns and suicide vests, according to Taliban purported spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, occupied a five-story superstore and Justice Ministry and conducted a suicide blast at the gate of Presidential Palace.

Finance Ministry, central bank, a newly built shopping center close to the Foreign Ministry and the five-star Kabul-Serena Hotel frequented by foreign dignitaries were the targets of militants.

 

This is the ever-biggest Taliban strike in fortified Kabul since the collapse of Taliban regime by the U.S.-led coalition forces in late 2001.

 

In today’s deadly strike which triggered gun battle between security forces and the attackers, according to Defense Ministry statement, 10 terrorists have been killed and search is continuing if there were anymore terrorists. “In today’s terrorist attacks and counter-insurgency operation, three civilians and two police were martyred. Ten terrorists were killed. Ten Afghan soldiers, 18 policemen and 35 civilians sustained injuries,” the statement of Defense Ministry confirmed.

 

The operation is over now, the statement stressed.

 

Two journalists are also among those sustained injuries in the deadly attacks.

One of the blasts occurred in Pashtunistan Square nearby Presidential Palace, forcing shopkeepers around to flee.

 

Today’s attacks took place amid tight security while President Hamid Karzai was administering the oath taking ceremony of 14 ministers approved by parliament.

Presidential Palace in a statement strongly condemned the attacks and assured the citizens that the situation is under control.

 

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement also denounced the attack.

 

Meantime, Taliban militants who have vowed to speed up activities this year in Afghanistan have claimed of responsibility.

 

Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters via cellular phone from undisclosed location that 20 armed fighters, some them suicide bombers, have entered the city to target government interests.

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