International

Eight killed after Taliban storm Afghan MP’s house

KABUL: Eight people were killed when Taliban suicide bombers stormed the residence of an Afghan lawmaker in the capital Kabul, officials said after the attackers were gunned down early Thursday following a nearly 10-hour siege.

Helmand MP Mir Wali survived the assault with injuries but two of his grandsons and bodyguards were among those killed in the attack, which began on Wednesday evening following a recent lull in violence in Kabul.

The Taliban in a statement said their suicide bombers raided the house to disrupt an “important gathering of officials” to address the deteriorating security situation in the lawmaker’s southern opium-rich province.

“President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemns the attack on the residence of Helmand MP Mir Wali, which killed two members of his family, a number of his bodyguards and the son of another MP from Uruzgan, Obaidullah Barakzai,” the presidential palace said in a statement.

“President Ghani termed the attack as an unforgivable crime. Attacking the residence of national personalities cannot be justified in any religion and is against Islamic values.”

In all eight civilians and officials were killed, said Fraidoon Obaidi, chief of Kabul police’s Criminal Investigation Department. Mir Wali was hospitalised after he jumped from his roof to escape the attack, he added.

Sporadic gunfire and explosions were heard from the house early Thursday as Afghan forces cordoned off the property to launch a clearance operation.

“The coordinated attack was carried out by three suicide bombers. They were gunned down by Afghan forces,” Obaidi told reporters.

The brazen attack underscores the worsening security situation in Afghanistan and highlights how the Taliban are stepping up targeted attacks on high-level officials.

The militants are escalating their nationwide insurgency despite the onset of winter, when fighting usually ebbs, even as international efforts intensify to restart stalled peace talks.

Fifteen years and hundreds of billions of dollars since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the security situation in the country remains fraught and Afghan forces are struggling to contain the conflict.

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