Taliban Fighters Attack U.S. Embassy In Kabul

Originally published on September 13, 2011 6:48 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And I'm Michele Norris. The sense of security in the heart of the Afghan capital was shaken today by gunfire and explosions. Several teams of Taliban fighters carried out coordinated attacks on the U.S. embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings in Kabul.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNFIRE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get out of here. Let's get out of here. Go.

NORRIS: Rocket-propelled grenades aimed at the embassy instead hit civilians, including a van carrying school children. Afghan and U.S. forces began returning fire in what became an hours' long gunfight. At least six Afghans were killed, including four policemen. NATO and the U.S. embassy say they have sustained no casualties. NPR's Quil Lawrence was at the scene of the attacks today and he joins us now. Quil, tell us more about what happened today and what you were able to see and hear.

QUIL LAWRENCE: Rumors were flying around Kabul that there were more suicide bombers. It appears there were seven in all.

NORRIS: And what happened to those men that were holed up inside that 14-story building?

LAWRENCE: As it approached midnight local time, the police had said that they had killed all but two of them who might have still been hiding inside this 14-story building.

NORRIS: Quil, has the Taliban been able to penetrate Kabul security quite like this before?

LAWRENCE: And while casualties were low considering the scale of the attack, they still really put a huge dent in the confidence of Afghans I've spoken with in Kabul after each of these events.

NORRIS: Now, as I understand, Kabul is one of the areas that has been turned over to the Afghan control, at least in matters of security. Will that be re-thought now?

LAWRENCE: And it certainly highlights the question of whether Afghan forces are improving quickly enough to take over security in three years' time.

NORRIS: We've been speaking with NPR's Quil Lawrence in Kabul. Quil, thank you very much.

LAWRENCE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.