KABUL: Taliban militants attacked a foreign guesthouse in central Kabul on Thursday, hours after a suicide bomber targeted a British embassy vehicle in a blast that killed six people, triggering fears of spiralling unrest.
Attacks across the Afghan capital have increased in recent weeks as US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces wrap up their 13-year combat mission against Taliban insurgents at the end of this year.
Afghanistan faces a major security challenge as the NATO military presence declines with the police and army struggling to prevent attacks and suffering high casualties in the battlefield.
Two militants were killed by police inside the guesthouse and one Nepalese guard was wounded in the fighting, Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanakzai told Agence France-Presse.
Officials did not confirm which foreign guesthouse was attacked. Wazir Akbar Khan district is home to several international contractor firms, development agencies and embassies.
After an initial suicide blast, sporadic gunfire and grenade blasts erupted for at least 45 minutes as security forces fought to clear the building.
“The attack was against a foreigners’ guest house,” Deputy Interior Minister Ayub Salangi told Tolo TV news. “The police have entered the building,” he added.
Police said they were searching to check whether another attacker had escaped.
Earlier in the day, another suicide bomber rammed his explosives-packed car into a British embassy vehicle in the east of the city, killing one British bodyguard and five Afghans.
The Taliban used a recognized Twitter account to say they were behind both attacks.
At least eight blasts have hit Kabul over the last 10 days, including attacks on foreign compounds and on a female Afghan member of parliament who was injured in a suicide bombing that targeted her car.