27 dead in Kabul battle: Gen. Allen
KABUL (PAN): The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander on Wednesday lauded Afghan security personnel's efficient response to yesterday's attacks in the heart of Afghanistan's capital.
Twenty-seven people -- 11 civilians, five police officers and 11 insurgents -- died in the 20-hour battle that ended on Wednesday morning, Gen. John Allen told a joint news conference with NATO senior civilian representative, Simon Gass.
He said Afghan forces' swift reply to the assault, involving several gunmen who entered a high-rise building near the Abdul Haq Square, showed their ability to take responsibility for the country's security.
The assailants fired rockets at the National Directorate of Security (NDS) office, the US embassy, NATO headquarters and some government compounds, Ghulam Siddiq Siddiqui, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Separately, rebels carried out suicide blasts near Deh Mazang Square and Habibia High School on the Darul Aman road. One suicide bomber was killed before reaching his target in the Bibi Mahro area on the Kabul airport road.
ISAF's top commander said the guerrillas failed because Afghan forces responded to the attacks quickly and systematically eliminated the threat.
A small number of coalition forces were injured and no ISAF member died in the battle, he continued. "We honour the brave Afghan soldiers and civilians who lost their lives and extend condolences to their families."
Allen said international forces would push ahead with the security transition process and strengthen Afghan forces to beat back militant attacks.
"It was not the first attack of insurgents and we don't expect that it will be the last. The insurgents are losing their territory, support, confidence and leaders, who choose to give orders from foreign lands," he went on.
Answering a question regarding the involvement of the Haqqani network, Allen said he believed the attacks were carried out by the group, which has attacked Kabul several times.
With regard to rebel safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan, he said: "We are partnering with that country all the time. We desire to partner with Pakistan to control insurgent infiltration across the border."
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