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Two Dead After Islamic State Attack On Kabul TV Station


Afghan soldiers take a position near the Shamshad Television after an attack in Kabul on November 7.
Afghan soldiers take a position near the Shamshad Television after an attack in Kabul on November 7.

KABUL -- Two people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in an armed attack on a private television station in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

"People dressed in police clothes came in and initially threw hand grenades, which killed one of our guards and wounded another," Abed Ehsas, the news director of Shamshad TV, told Tolo News.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said two security guards were killed in the attack and that two gunmen were also killed. He said police have sealed off the station and are investigating the attack.

Afghan special forces blasted a hole in a concrete wall to enter the building and end the crisis. Several employees of the station were hit by bullets and falling glass, Reuters reported, adding that several jumped from windows to escape the gunmen.

The extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on the website of a news agency affiliated with it, Amaq. Taliban insurgents had previously issued a denial that they were involved.

Gunfire could be heard within the Pashto-language TV station during the two-hour-long attack.

Shamshad TV went off the air during the attack but quickly went back on air after the attack ended. One news moderator appeared on TV wearing bandages on his hands after the station resumed broadcasting.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the attack during a speech in Brussels.

"The last few weeks have been tough in Afghanistan with a number of brutal and senseless attacks, such as today's attack on Shamshad TV," he said. "At the same time, the Afghan security forces have shown bravery, determination, and increasing capability."

Amnesty International's Omar Waraich, the deputy director for South Asia, called the attack "a horrific crime that tragically demonstrates the risks Afghanistan's journalists face for their legitimate work."

Afghan Journalists Safety Committee head Sediqullah Tawhidi told Radio Free Afghanistan that "an attack against civilians and civilian structures must be considered a war crime."

Some journalists and employees of the TV channel managed to flee the building, an employee of the news channel told RFE/RL.

The IS-branch in Afghanistan has carried out several attacks in Kabul in recent years, mainly targeting the country's Shi'ite minority.

On October 31, an IS suicide bomber struck near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, killing five people and wounding at least 20.

A Taliban suicide bomber killed seven people at Afghanistan's largest private television station, Tolo, early last year.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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