Afghan Insurgents Pelt U.S. Embassy with Rockets, Grenades

An ambitious attack hits the U.S. in the heart of Kabul

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Update (6:04 p.m.): Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decried the "cowardly attack" saying "We will take all necessary steps, not only to ensure the safety of our people, but to secure the area and to ensure that those who perpetrated this attack are dealt with." In total, at least 9 people were killed and 23 injured in the fighting, Reuters reports.

Update (12:08 p.m.): Kabul's police chief tells NBC News that four Afghan police and two civilians were killed in the attack and security forces continue to fight to take control of the over-taken building.

Update: NBC News reports that the insurgents waging the attack are Taliban suicide fighters. Two have been killed and two more continue to fight. In a statement, the Taliban said "several attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests were targeting government buildings near the city's embassy district." Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told NBC News, "With the help of our sincere mujahideen with Afghan army, police and government, our fighters managed to enter this high-security zone and carry out such attacks." According to reports, the insurgents took over a high rise building near the U.S. Embassy and began firing rocket-propelled grenades from that location.

Original Post Not a promising sign of progress in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, insurgents waged a coordinated attack against the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters, hitting the compounds with a wave of automatic weapons, grenades and rockets, where at least 10 explosions were heard, reports The New York Times. Bloomberg has more details:

The explosions erupted early in the afternoon in Kabul's New Mikrorayon neighborhood, and gunfire could be heard an hour later, according to Tolo and residents reached by phone. An unknown number of gunmen rushed into an empty building that overlooks the U.S. Embassy and the nearby headquarters of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan, Tolo and the Pajhwok news agency reported.

Though the group's role in the attack haven't been confirmed, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has claimed responsibility, saying the group targeted the embassy, NATO headquarters and buildings belonging to the Afghan government. Pointing out the seriousness of an attack waged in the heart of the Afghan capital, the Associated Press notes "It was the third major attack in Kabul since late June, casting fresh doubts on the ability of Afghans to secure their own country as the U.S. and other foreign troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014." According to U.S. Embassy staff, no employees were wounded however at least one Afghan police officer and two militants were killed during the urban firefight. AP video caught some of the noises from the attack:

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