Taliban carry out 'senseless' Ramadan attack on Kabul aid group
KABUL -- Taliban militants stormed the compound of an international aid group in central Kabul Tuesday (May 8) for allegedly promoting Western culture and the "inter-mixing" of men and women.
The assault began at about 11.40am when a massive blast tore across Kabul. The insurgents then entered the compound of Counterpart International, a non-profit group, the Interior Ministry said in a statement several hours after the attack began.
Special police units killed all five attackers, the statement said. At least four civilians, including a woman, were killed, and 24 others were wounded.
Police rescued about 200 civilians, it added.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid quickly claimed responsibility, saying Counterpart International was targeted because it promoted the "inter-mixing" of men and women.
NGO supports marginalised groups
Counterpart was not immediately available to comment, but the group's website says it runs a US Agency for International Development-funded Afghan civic engagement programme supporting women and other marginalised groups across Afghanistan.
The initial explosion shook nearby buildings and shattered windows.
"We started running out of the building, and while running outside, I heard small-arms fire and grenades going off nearby," said Akbar Khan Sahadat, a prosecutor in the Attorney General's office close to the scene of the blast.
John Bass, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, strongly denounced the attack on the US non-governmental organisation.
"The targeted organisation helps local communities, trains journalists and supports the Afghan people," he said on Twitter.
"For this, it is the target of senseless violence," he added, thanking local security forces for their rapid response.
The attack was "particularly deplorable, hitting civilians helping Afghans and taking place during Ramadan", said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.