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Blasts Rock Kabul as Security Forces Fight Taliban

Kabul, Apr 16 (IANS): A string of explosions rocked Kabul early Monday as security forces overnight battled Taliban militants who staged a wave of coordinated gun and rocket attacks, a media report said.

The explosions persisted for some time. They followed gunfire that lasted well into Sunday night in an area that houses government offices and embassies, reported CNN.

On Sunday, the Taliban launched a brazen assault in Kabul and elsewhere in the country, targetting the embassies of the US and Germany, the Afghanistan parliament, the NATO headquarters and an airbase used by the American troops.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq Seddiqi said the insurgents "have no choice except surrendering or to be killed by the Afghan forces".

It was the first major attack on Afghan capital in more than six months. The heavily guarded area of Kabul, where the attacks have been carried out, is frequented by foreigners and is rarely the scene of violence. The attackers also struck in Afghan provinces of Logar, Paktia and Nangarhar.

There were differing accounts of the number of injured.

According to police, at least 11 police officers and five civilians were wounded in Kabul.

The Afghan interior ministry said that at least 17 Afghan police officers and nine civilians were injured,

The Taliban said Sunday's attacks marked the start of a "spring offensive".

The last attack on Kabul of this scale was witnessed in September 2011 when heavily armed insurgents took over an unfinished high-rise building and opened fire on the US embassy and NATO headquarters. That attack left 14 Afghans dead.

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