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Four hour gun battle in Kabul ends with killing of attackers

An armed Taliban attack on the election commission headquarters in the Afghan capital has ended. All five attackers were killed by Afghan police.

For four hours, the five militants launched an attack with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns on the Independent Election Commission (IEC) headquarters on the eastern edge of the capital near Kabul international airport.

"There were five attackers, all of them used burqas as a disguise. They have all been killed," Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said. "Two members of special police units were slightly injured."

The deputy of the IEC's media monitoring commission, Ashmat Radfar, hid in the basement with about 40 other people during the attack. He said about 15 rocket-propelled grenades had exploded in the area and two warehouses were hit and set on fire. None of the staff were hurt.

The Taliban claimed responsibility

for Saturday's assault as it steps up its operations to disrupt elections due to be held on April 5.

The attackers had gained access to a building overlooking the commission building but were unable to get into the compound housing the IEC itself. Security had been increased as an attack had been anticipated by the security forces.

The nearby airport was closed during the attack and flights diverted but it later reopened.

jm/mpz (AFP, Reuters)

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