Fighting Erupts in Central Kabul

By Nathan Hodge And-Nathan Hodge-The Wall Street Journal-KABUL—Heavy fighting erupted in central Kabul on Tuesday evening, with machine-gun fire and successive explosions heard in the city’s diplomatic quarter.

Gen. Farid Afzali, a senior police officer, said security forces had been dispatched to the scene. Local residents said the assault appeared to be on a guesthouse in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan district, an upscale residential neighborhood favored by diplomats and international organizations.

A security official said the compound was a guesthouse owned by the family of Salahuddin Rabbani, the country’s foreign minister.

The shooting began around 11 p.m. local time, and was followed by a series of blasts. Two hours after the assault began the fighting had largely subsided, although sporadic gunfire and explosions could still be heard. There was no immediate information on the number of casualties.

This is the latest in a string of attacks that have shaken the Afghan capital in recent weeks. On May 14 a Taliban gunman stormed the Park Plaza hotel in central Kabul ahead of a music concert, killing 14 people, most of them foreigners.

More recently, a car bomb exploded in the parking lot of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice just as employees were preparing to go home after their working day. Five people were killed and more than 50 were injured, many of them government workers.

Taliban insurgents have pressed an aggressive offensive around the country, with troops and civilians taking heavy casualties.

In the central city of Maidan Wardak Tuesday, four suicide bombers and two policemen died in an attack on a provincial court, according to Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.  source wall street

Write to Nathan Hodge at and Margherita Stancati at