Coordinated Taliban Strikes Rock Afghanistan

Posted April 15th, 2012 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Taliban militants in Afghanistan have carried out coordinated attacks in the capital, Kabul and three eastern provinces as part of what they call their “spring offensive.”

The attacks took place near NATO headquarters in Kabul and an area that includes the U.S., German and British embassies.

Suicide blasts in the capital were followed by intense gunfire and rocket attacks.

Dark smoke rose into the sky as Afghan troops rushed into the streets with weapons drawn. Residents took cover indoors and emergency alarms blared throughout the city

Similar violence erupted in Jalalabad City in Nangahar province, Gardez in Patkia province and in Logar province.

After the initial attacks, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assaults and warned that operations by suicide bombers were still underway.

Western embassies reported staff members were unharmed.

There were no immediate reports of deaths, and there have been an undetermined number of people reported wounded.

Afghanistan's interior minister said at least three people have been detained in connection with the attacks.

Violence has continued in the country as coalition forces have begun withdrawing from Afghanistan and transferring security responsibility to their Afghan counterparts.

During an interview with CNN on Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to Kabul Ryan Crocker said Afghan security forces responded “very professionally” to the coordinated strikes. The envoy noted Afghan troops successfully captured and killed suspects while suffering relatively few casualties of their own.

The United States and Afghanistan are also pushing toward completion of a long-term strategic agreement defining the U.S. presence in Afghanistan once all foreign combat troops leave the country by 2014.