KABUL, Afghanistan – A squad of suicide bombers killed at least 22 people during a raid on a governor’s compound in a province near Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday, the latest attack targeting top Afghan officials as militants work to undermine President Hamid Karzai’s fragile government.
The attack, carried out by six militants who stormed the walled headquarters of Parwan provincial Gov. Abdul Basir Salangi, is likely to deepen concerns about the readiness of Afghan soldiers and police as they take over security responsibilities from U.S. troops in certain areas. Taliban militants waging a 10-year war against U.S., NATO and Afghan forces claimed responsibility for the attack.
The late-morning raid took place in Charikar, about 30 miles north of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. It began with a suicide car bomber detonating his explosives-filled vehicle at the compound’s main gate, said Sediq Sediqi, a spokesman for the country’s Interior Ministry. Five heavily armed militants wearing bomb vests then stormed the compound and exchanged gunfire with Afghan security forces inside.
Two of the militants detonated their vests inside the compound, while the other three were shot and killed by Afghan security forces, Sediqi said. At least 16 government workers and six Afghan police officers were killed in the attack. An additional 44 government workers and police officers were injured.
Roshna Khalid, Salangi’s spokesman, said the attackers were able to get inside the governor’s building while a security meeting was under way. Salangi, who was at the meeting, survived the attack.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Taliban militants carried out the Parwan attack, and said that 48 Afghan government workers, police and foreign troops were killed. The Taliban routinely exaggerates the number of people killed and wounded in its attacks.