Assailants,some wearing suicide vests,attacked the Justice Ministry and another government building in the Afghan capital on Wednesday,causing multiple deaths and forcing people to flee from building windows,officials and witnesses said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The incidents come at a time of worsening security in Afghanistan and a day before Richard Holbrooke,the new US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan,is expected to visit Kabul.
At least five men armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked the Justice Ministry in the center of Kabul,said Mohammad Ali,a ministry employee.
Two assailants died in the ensuing firefight with security officers,while the others were still holed up in the building.
An AP reporter at the scene said ministry workers were fleeing the building through the windows on the second floor as the shooting continued. Witnesses said three other people were killed.
“I was in my office on the second floor of the Justice Ministry when I heard the sound of a strong explosion on the first floor. I came out of my office to see what was going on and I saw a man with an AK-47 shooting at every employee he saw in the hall. I saw three employees dead,including one of my colleagues,” said Nazir Mohammad,a ministry worker. Zabiullah Mujaheed,a spokesman for the Taliban,said five of their fighters attacked the ministry. Mujaheed said the attack was in response to the alleged mistreatment of Taliban prisoners in Afghan government jails.
Another suicide bomber attacked the ministry’s corrections department in another part of the town,said police officer Zulmay Khan.
There were no details on casualties from the second attack.
The siege of the ministry follows a lull in major attacks inside the capital.
The Taliban regularly use suicide bombings in their attacks on Afghan and foreign troops.