Explosions, gunfire shake Afghan capital

Explosions, gunfire shake Afghan capital

Militants conduct a coordinated attack on two neighborhoods frequented by government officials

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A series of explosions followed by sustained gunfire shook the Afghan capital on Sunday in what appeared to be a coordinated attack by militants on two neighborhoods frequented by Afghan government officials and their international allies.

The first blasts struck the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood of central Kabul, home to a number of embassies and a NATO base. Gunfire erupted soon after the explosions, forcing people out in the street to quickly take cover. Smoke could be seen rising from a few buildings in the neighborhood as sirens wailed.

Heavy gunfire continued to shake the capital more than 30 minutes after the initial explosion.

Militants who had staked out positions in a tall building were firing rockets in different directions, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. It was not immediately clear what they were targeting.

At about the same time, residents reported a blast near the parliament building across town. A police officer in the area, Mohammad Assan, said there was an attack involving shooting near parliament.

It was the first attack in Kabul since a shooting inside the Interior Ministry in February in which a ministry employee turned a gun on NATO advisers and shot two soldiers dead.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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