Taliban Gunmen Strike UN Guesthouse in Kabul, Kill Nine

At least nine people, six of them UN workers, two Afghan security personnel and one Afghan civilian, were killed and nine others injured when Taliban gunmen attacked a UN guesthouse in Kabul, said a UN spokesman.

According to local police, at least three gunmen in suicide vests barged into the compound before dawn on Wednesday. They engaged security forces in pitched battles for two hours before setting off their explosives or were shot dead.

Later, a Taliban spokesman, terming the strike as a “first step” to disrupt next month’s presidential runoff election, claimed responsibility of the attack.

The attack was aimed at a guesthouse popular with foreign UN workers in a luscious part of the city that also has residential homes, shops and government buildings.

On Tuesday, eight US soldiers and an Afghan civilian working with them were killed in a series of bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan.

The deaths made October the deadliest month for American forces since a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban government in late 2001.

Also Tuesday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that US President Barack Obama will meet Friday with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to continue the assessment on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Gibbs said that the president is approaching the end of the review process and will take some time to think things through.

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