KABUL, Afghanistan— Explosions and gun battle were heard across the southern city of Kandahar on Saturday as Taliban militants attempted to attack the police headquarters with a car bomb and suicide bombers a few minutes after noon on Saturday, according to Afghan officials and witnesses.
At least three people were killed, including two of the attackers, and 28 civilians, including 9 children, were wounded, an American military official said.
“The insurgents were trying to break into the police compound,” said Lt. Col. Webster Wright, the chief public affairs officer of the Kandahar airfield. “They detonated a car bomb to breach the wall of the compound but it did not. Three suicide bombers with suicide vests then tried to break in.”
Two of the attackers detonated their vests in the street, and a third sought shelter in a wedding hall where he was shot and detained by the police.
One Afghan National Army soldier was killed and two or three policemen were wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Wright said. Zalmay Ayoubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, Wael Toryalai, said that wounded civilians were being transported to a hospital.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for the attack.
As gunfire was heard coming from different directions in the area near the police headquarters, merchants were locking their shops and rushing away from the shooting and people said there was a mood of panic. The police had blocked the roads to the center of the city even as people were rushing to get away.
The attack was the fifth by suicide bombers in Kandahar Province this year, including three in two weeks in the city. The last one, on Feb. 7, targeted customs officials and killed an American civilian adviser to the customs department.
The other suicide bombings in Kandahar Province this year included one in the city that killed the deputy governor on Jan. 29, one at a bathhouse in Spin Boldak that killed 17 people on Jan. 7 and another also in Spin Boldak that killed two Afghan police on Jan. 10.