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Aid group attacked by Taliban, leading to street battle in Kabul

REUTERS
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A wounded Afghan policeman is carried away from the site of an explosion in Kabul May 24, 2013. Several large explosions rocked a busy area in the centre of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Friday with Reuters witnesses describing shooting in the area. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) TEMPLATE OUT

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By The Associated Press
Friday, May 24, 2013, 9:54 p.m.
 

KABUL, Afghanistan — In the latest militant strike on the Afghan capital, Taliban gunmen backed by a suicide car bomber attacked an international aid group's compound on Friday, killing two guards and setting off an hours-long street battle with police in the heart of Kabul.

The attack, the second in the city in just over a week, also left four International Organization for Migration workers wounded including an Italian woman badly burned by a grenade. Thirteen police were wounded while all six attackers died in the assault, authorities said.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack on a guest house used by the IOM in an upscale neighborhood of Kabul, a relatively uncommon operation by the group targeting an international aid group.

At the chaotic scene of the siege, dozens of Afghan police took cover behind blast walls and rushed around through a thick cloud of smoke made by the bomb. At least one wounded officer was seen being helped away by his comrades.

The insurgents have unleashed a wave of bombings and assassinations around the country, testing Afghan security forces' ability to respond with reduced help from international forces, who have begun a withdrawal that will see most foreign troops gone by the end of 2014.

A Nepalese guard and an Afghan police officer providing security to the compound died in the assault as well as all of the attackers, said Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi.

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