Taliban Continues Deadly Assault on Afghan Capital

Posted September 14th, 2011 at 12:15 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan and NATO forces continued to battle Taliban insurgents as night fell Tuesday, hours after militants first launched their coordinated assault on several high-profile targets in Kabul.

NATO helicopters circled over a high-rise construction site as Afghan security forces moved through the building in an attempt to subdue the one or two insurgents believed to be remaining from the assault.

On Tuesday, insurgents armed with suicide vests and rocket-propelled grenades targeted NATO's headquarters, the U.S. Embassy, the Afghan Intelligence Agency and other areas, killing at least seven people.

As part of the attack, militants stormed the multi-floor building under construction, which provided them a clear shot of the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters from the edge of Kabul's diplomatic district. There also was a simultaneous series of explosions around the nearby area.

Both NATO and the U.S. Embassy said none of their staff were wounded in the attack.

In Washington, CIA director David Petraeus told U.S. lawmakers that a rocket-propelled grenade hit the U.S. Embassy complex, wounding four Afghans who were lined up to wait for American visas.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks and praised the effective response of the Afghan authorities. He said such actions will not stop the security transition in the country, but instead embolden the Afghan people's determination to take responsibility for their own country's affairs.

The assault comes as NATO nations seek to transfer full security control to the Afghan military within the next few years. U.S. and NATO officials responded to Tuesday's attack by saying it would not deter their resolve in continuing the transition through the end of 2014.

Afghan security forces already have taken security control of several cities and provinces.