Taliban militants attacked the Afghan Parliament in Kabul on Monday.
NPR’s Philip Reeves reports that police say all of the militants were killed by Afghan security forces and more than a dozen civilians were injured. Philip filed this report for our Newscast unit:
“Police say the attack began when a suicide bomber in a car detonated outside parliament’s gates.
“Inside, lawmakers were meeting to confirm the appointment of a new defense minster. TV pictures showed the speaker sitting calmly as a cloud of dust from the blast fills the room.
“A prolonged fire-fight then followed which police say ended when the security forces killed the six Taliban attackers. There’s been a surge of Taliban attacks since last year’s withdrawal of most U.S. and foreign forces.
“The Taliban will see today’s attack as a propaganda coup — as it’s against a major government power center in the heart of the capital. The attack is raising questions about how this security lapse could happen and about the overall ability of Afghan forces to combat the militants.”
The New York Times reports this incident is an embarrassment for the Afghan government. Parliament was meeting to try to confirm a third nominee for the defense minister post.
The first two, the paper reports, were rejected by Parliament, leaving the country without a defense chief for 10 months. The Times adds:
“The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, posting what their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, described as ‘live tweets.’
“‘Parliament of the puppet administration of Kabul is under heavy martyrdom-seekers attack at a time which they were casting confidence vote for the minister of defense,’ one of Mr. Mujahid’s Twitter posts read.
“In another worrisome development for the Afghan government, a second district in the northern province of Kunduz fell to Taliban control, according to Afghan officials there. An Afghan Local Police commander said the Archi district fell to the insurgents Monday morning. On Sunday, the Ministry of Defense and other officials confirmed Taliban claims that another district, Chahar Dara, had fallen to the insurgents that morning.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that all members of Parliament were accounted for and safe.