Fighting in Afghan Capital Ends as Govt. Regains Control

NATO commander, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen


Eighteen hours of fighting in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul came to an end Monday after NATO and Afghan forces regained control of the city following a series of coordinated attacks throughout the eastern part of the country by Taliban insurgents.

The last Kabul attack, which was launched against Parliament, at the National Assembly building, was quelled by 7:30 a.m. local time, U.S. and NATO officials said.

Reports said the Afghan military called in helicopter gunships to root out insurgents who had formed a stronghold in a pair of buildings in Kabul, a position that was finally destroyed by morning, reports said.

Assaults throughout the country’s east began nearly simultaneously on Sunday around 1:45 p.m. local time. Insurgents launched assaults on the eastern cities of Gardez, 60 miles south of Kabul; Jalalabad, 95 miles east of the capital, near Pakistan; and Pul-i-Alam, 40 miles south of Kabul, Afghan and U.S. officials said.

Reports said at least two Afghan police officers were killed and another 14 wounded in the attacks. Twenty-seven civilians were injured, Afghan officials reported.

The attacks were an early test for Afghan army and police forces, collectively known as the Afghan National Security Forces, which responded with minimal NATO assistance.

“No one is underestimating the seriousness of today’s attacks,” NATO commander U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen said in a statement. “Each attack was meant to send a message: that legitimate governance and Afghan sovereignty are in peril. The ANSF response itself is proof enough of that folly.”

Taliban officials took responsibility for the attacks, which they labeled only the beginning of a “spring offensive.”

Some U.S. officials, however, believe the attacks were more likely planned and staged by the Haqqani network, an autonomous militant part of the Taliban movement that has likely staged the most damaging attacks on Kabul in recent years.

© 2012 Newsroom America.