At least two people have been killed after gunmen attacked a military hospital close to the U.S. Embassy in the Afghan capital and engaged security forces inside the building, officials and witnesses say.
General Dawlat Waziri, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said an unknown number of gunmen entered the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital on March 8 after an explosion and gunfire.
The 400-bed military hospital is located near two civilian hospitals in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul.
It is also located across the road from the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy.
"The attackers are in the second and third floors of the hospital, and right now a gunbattle is under way," Waziri said.
"So far two dead bodies and nine wounded people have been transported at the neighboring Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan hospital," Qamaruddin Sediqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, said.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack during a speech on the occasion of the International Women's Day, calling it "an attack on all Afghan people and all Afghan women."
No insurgent group immediately claimed responsibility for the ongoing assault, which comes as the Taliban ramp up attacks even before the start of their annual spring offensive.
The area around the hospital, near a busy traffic intersection, was blocked off by security forces. Afghan helicopters circled over the area.
The NATO-led Resolute Support mission said it was ready to assist Afghan security services.
The attack comes just a week after dozens were killed and wounded in a series of Taliban attacks on a police building and an intelligence service compound in Kabul.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP