June 19, 2013
Multiple attacks on Kabul, Taliban claims 'spring offensive'
Gunmen launched multiple attacks in the Afghan capital Kabul, assaulting Western embassies in the heavily guarded, central diplomatic area and at the parliament in the west.
Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the assault, one of the most serious on the capital since U.S.-backed Afghan forces removed the group from power in 2001.
"These attacks are the beginning of the spring offensive and we had planned them for months," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.
The Taliban said the main targets were the German and British embassies and the headquarters of Afghanistan's NATO-led force. Several Afghan members of parliament joined security forces repelling attackers from a roof near the parliament.
Taliban fighters also launched assaults in at least two provinces, a spokesman for the insurgents said.
The Taliban said in a statement three hours into the attack that "tens of fighters", armed with heavy and light weapons, and some wearing suicide-bomb vests, were involved.
The coordinated attack is bound to intensify concern in the run-up to the planned withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
The assault appeared to repeat the tactics of an attack t in Kabul last September when insurgents entered construction sites in several places to use them as positions for rocket and gun attacks.
Taliban spokesman Mujahid said it had been easy to bring fighters into the capital, and they had had inside help to move heavy weapons into place.