KABUL, Afghanistan -- Insurgent gunmen and bombers struck a guest-house complex frequented by foreigners in the Afghan capital early Wednesday, just hours after President Obama ended a lightning visit. In the attack’s aftermath, several charred bodies could be seen lying in the street, and police reported seven people had been killed.
Afghan security forces had been braced for possible attacks on the first anniversary of the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Witnesses said Wednesday’s assault apparently began with a vehicle bombing outside the gates of the guarded compound near Kabul’s international airport, and that a subsequent explosion might have been a suicide blast. Shooting continued for about half an hour, and helicopters hovered overhead.
Just over two weeks ago, insurgents staged an ambitious cluster of armed strikes in the capital and other eastern provinces, targeting Western embassies and the Afghan parliament.
That 20-hour confrontation resulted in few casualties but paralyzed the city for hours and amounted to a clear challenge to the NATO force’s assertion that security is improving throughout the country. Officials blamed the Haqqani network, a Taliban offshoot based in Pakistan.