Afghan officials say a Taliban attack on a compound for foreign aid workers in western Kabul has ended with three attackers and at least two civilians killed after a battle on November 29 that lasted several hours.
Afghan police say the civilians who were killed included one Afghan and one foreigner who worked for an international nongovernmental organization that housed its employees at the compound.
Afghan officials identified that aid group as Partnership in Academics & Development (PAD).
Witnesses say the gunmen who attacked the guesthouse in the Karte Seh neighborhood — which is primed to become Kabul’s governmental hub — were strapped to explosives as they entered the nongovernmental group’s compound.
Witnesses reported hearing two large explosions during the battle.
Afghan Deputy Interior Affairs Minister Ayub Salangi told RFE/RL that three men carried out the attack and took six Afghans as hostages.
He said those hostages were rescue unharmed.
Seddiq Seddiqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Affairs Ministry, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that authorities managed to kill two of the attackers.
But he said the third suicide attacker was able to detonate his explosives, killing himself along with an Afghan civilian and a foreign civilian who worked for PAD.
Their names were not immediately released by Afghan authorities.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted what they described as a "secret missionary center."
According to the PAD website, the group serves in armed conflict zones and natural disaster areas with a goal of “empowering and developing communities through educational efforts.”
The group says it operates primarily in Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Its website makes no reference to any religious affiliations.
One of the group’s projects in Afghanistan is a private school in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif that it calls “Seeds of Hope Rehabilitation.”
That school has operated on about $10,000 worth of donations that PAD raised in early 2013.
The school has enrolled about 190 impoverished Afghan boys and girls who do not have the financial means to attend public school.
Most are either orphans or live in homes where only one parent has survived the past 35 years of turmoil in Afghanistan.
The November 29 attack on the nongovernmental group’s Kabul compound is the latest in a series of deadly Taliban assaults targeting foreigners in Kabul.
It comes at a time when most NATO combat troops in Afghanistan are withdrawing before the end of 2014 deadline.
Under recent agreements with the United States and NATO that were approved by Afghanistan’s parliament, about 12,000 NATO-led troops will remain in Afghanistan during 2015 with a mandate allowing them to engage in combat or support operations for Afghan security forces.
With reporting by Reuters, AP and AFP