Taliban Strikes Kabul with Massive Blast, Two Militants Killed in Gunfight

A huge bomb blast rocked Afghan capital Kabul as Taliban militants and security forces engaged themselves in a gunbattle in the centre of the city, reported AFP quoting witnesses, adding that the two militants were killed in the fight.

The explosion that took place at 11.20 am is among a wave of gun and bomb attacks and clashes between Taliban-linked militants and security forces that has closed the centre of the city, said reports.

A Taliban spokesman, while claiming the responsibility for the attack, said that 20 suicide bombers were sent into Kabul to lay siege to government buildings, including the presidential palace, said report.

“It is our work, the targets are the (presidential) palace, the finance, justice and mines ministries, and the central bank,” a purported Taliban spokesman was quoted as saying by AFP.

Report said that TV showed a shopping mall in the heart of the city – believed to be taken over by the militants – burning in fumes as security forces took cover behind military vehicles.

Citing TV picture and witnesses, the report said that the fire was ringing out over the city, which bore deserted look save the heavy presence of police and army.

The attacks came a day after the government said President Hamid Karzai was to announce a new plan aimed at forging peace with the Islamist Taliban and other militants fighting to topple his administration.

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