Turkish foreign ministry denies attack on Kabul military base

Turkish foreign ministry denies attack on Kabul military base

KABUL
Turkish foreign ministry denies attack on Kabul military base

Afghan police run towards to the scene of attacks in Kabul on April 15, 2012. AFP photo

Turkish foreign ministry has denied reports today that a Turkish military base near the Afghan capital was attacked by Taliban militants.

"Neither the Turkish military base nor the Turkish Embassy in Kabul was attacked," a statement from the ministry said. 

An AP reporter at the Turkish military base on the outskirts of Kabul had said the installation was under direct attack from mortar fire. Turkish and Greek forces responded with heavy-caliber machine gun fire, the reporter had said. 

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 three neighborhoods frequented by Afghan government officials and their international allies.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault in a text message to The Associated Press. He said a group of armed suicide bombers have launched an attack on NATO forces headquarters, parliament and a number of diplomatic residences in Kabul.

There were also attacks in two other eastern cities - Jalalabad and Gardez. There were no immediate reports of casualties from those assaults, but details were sketchy and the fighting was still going on. Mujahid did not provide any information about attacks outside the capital.

The first explosions in Kabul struck the central Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, which is home to a number of embassies and a NATO base. Gunfire erupted soon after the blasts, 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.
More than 10 explosions in all shook the capital, and heavy gunfire continued to shake the city more than 30 minutes after the initial blast.

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, but shots appeared to be focusing on the nearby British Embassy.

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.

Turkey, Kabul, Afghanistan, Taliban