Taliban bombers killed two Afghan policemen and a civilian when they attacked offices belonging to the British Council and the United Nations in the center of the Afghan capital Friday, police said.
One assailant was still inside the British Council building fighting against Afghan security forces, Mohammad Zahir, head of criminal investigations at Kabul police, told Reuters. He added that six more people were wounded in the attacks.
A third very loud explosion was heard in the vicinity near a high school, Kabul Police spokesman Hashmatullah Stanikzai said, more than two hours after the first explosion was felt.
The NATO-led force in Afghanistan and the British Embassy in Kabul confirmed there had been two explosions near the British Council, which is a state-funded agency running mainly cultural programs. It is not part of the main British Embassy in the diplomatic area.
Kabul Police's Zahir said: Three people were killed and six wounded. I can't say at present where exactly they were killed.
Strewn wooden and metal debris lay on the street of the British Council, where Afghan forces and foreign troops rushed to secure the area, Reuters TV showed.
Afghan police detectives said a gunfight was also raging between security forces and assailants near the U.N. compound, which is located not far from the British Council.
We targeted the British Council and the U.N., Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location, declining to say how many bombers the Islamist group had sent
The attack in the center of Kabul comes a month after NATO handed over security responsibilities to the Afghans in several areas across the country, as part of a gradual transition process to be completed by the end of 2014.
Afghan forces have effectively been responsible for the city of Kabul since 2008, when NATO handed over security control.
There is growing unease in the United States and Europe about the costly and increasingly violent war that has dragged on for 10 years, causing U.S. lawmakers to question whether bringing home all combat troops by 2014 is fast enough.
There was no immediate comment from the United Nations on the latest attacks.
(Additional reporting and writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Paul Tait and Sanjeev Miglani)