Gunmen attack Afghan intelligence compound in Kabul, report says

Gunmen attack Afghan intelligence compound in Kabul, report says

Gunmen launched an attack on an intelligence training centre in Kabul Thursday, officials said, just a day after a suicide bomber killed dozens of students in the war-weary Afghan capital.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said the attackers were firing rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons but it was unclear how many gunmen were involved.

Fighting continued in densely populated areas, causing as many as 150 civilian deaths, along with hundreds of Taliban fighters and security personnel, according to UNAMA. "It was horrific and numerous students were torn to pieces". Another, a man whose 18-year-old daughter survived the attack, told the AP he saw blood and body parts covering benches and desks.

"There was blood everywhere, all over the room, so scary and terrible", he said. Hospitals were overwhelmed with the wounded.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group on Thursday via their Amaq propaganda service, as families of the dead held a mass funeral where mourners wept and clutched the wooden coffins.

The head of the United Nations children's agency denounced the attack, saying it's "deplorable" that children continue to be hardest hit in the growing violence across Afghanistan.

"The Taliban will try to have an upper hand during talks, so we can't rule out more attacks until a ceasefire", said Taliban expert Rahimullah Yusufzai.

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The training center is overseen by the National Security Directorate, Afghanistan's intelligence agency.

The Dasht-e-Barchi area is populated by members of Afghanistan's minority ethnic Hazaras - a Shiite community that has in the past been targeted by similar large-scale attacks. He said reinforcements have been dispatched to help recapture the checkpoints.

In this weekend's crisis in Ghazni, Taliban fighters also targeted a military facility, this time the city's police headquarters - which appears to have been compromised as reports indicate insurgents seized military equipment during their raid. The Taliban issued a statement denying any involvement in the attack.

The Ghazni attack, one of the Taliban's most devastating in years, has clouded hopes for peace talks that had been prompted by an unprecedented ceasefire during the Eid celebration in June and a meeting last month between Taliban officials and a senior USA diplomat. But, militarily, the Afghan army proved again, as it has repeatedly over the four years since the US pulled most of our combat forces out, that they can take on and defeat the Taliban anytime there's a head-to-head military confrontation.

At least 35 Ghazni civilians have been killed, said Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Also on Wednesday, the Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in southern Zabul province, killing several police officers, a police chief told the AP.

Afghanistan is littered with unexploded ordnance left by decades of war.

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