Update as of 6:30 a.m. EDT: Two people -- a woman and a child -- were killed in Monday’s attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul, according to local media reports. Seven Taliban militants, including a suicide bomber, were also killed.
“The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemns today’s attack on Parliament in Kabul,” the U.N. agency said in a statement released after the attack. “The attack against parliament, for which the Taliban have claimed responsibility, is a clear and deliberate affront to democracy in Afghanistan.”
Update as of 4:30 a.m. EDT: All six gunmen who attacked the Afghan parliament in Kabul have been killed, an Afghan government spokesman said on Monday. A total of seven Taliban militants, including a suicide bomber, were killed in the attack, which was carried out while the parliament was in session, while at least 31 civilians are believed to have been wounded.
The attack reportedly began when a Taliban militant drove a car loaded with explosives and blew it up outside parliament gates. The six gunmen who took up positions in a building near the parliament were killed -- in a gun battle lasting nearly two hours -- by the security forces.
َAfghan Police repelled terrorist attack today on AFG Parliament, killing all 7 attackers, no MP was wounded,
— Sediq Sediqqi (@moispokesman) June 22, 2015
“It shows a big failure in the intelligence and security departments of the government,” lawmaker Farhad Sediqi reportedly said.
The attack, part of the Taliban’s so-called “spring offensive,” came even as the militant group continued their advance in the country’s northern regions, seizing control of two districts -- Dasht-e-Archi and Chardara -- in the Kunduz province in as many days.
Update as of 3:20 a.m. EDT: Ebadullah Karimi, spokesman for Kabul police, told Reuters that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the parliament building and several other militants who took positions in a building close to the parliament. Kabul police chief Abdurrahman Rahimi, meanwhile, told the Guardian that a car bomb had exploded close to the parliament.
“Senators and members of lower house are all safe. We took them out,” Rahimi reportedly said.
As of now, 21 people are believed to have been injured in the attack, Afghanistan’s TOLO News reported.
Several explosions were reported near the Afghan parliament in the capital city of Kabul on Monday. While Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility for the ongoing attack, it is not yet clear if there are any fatalities.
The blasts, which reportedly took place when the parliament was in session, were followed by heavy exchange of gunfire. Several lawmakers were seen evacuating the building after the attack, according to media reports.
“It was a huge blast that shook the building and shattered windows. We are right now in a safe place,” lawmaker Shukria Barekzai told Reuters.
Reports also suggest that gunmen stormed the lower house of the parliament. However, these could not be immediately verified.
“Several mujahideen have entered the parliament building, heavy fighting is ongoing,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid posted on Twitter, according to a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP). “The attack happened at a time when the defense minister was being introduced.”
— KarimAmini (@KarimAmini1) June 22, 2015
KABUL: MP Harif Rahmani, who was inside Wolesi Jirga at time of explosions, says MPs evacuated and no serious injuries reported among them.
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) June 22, 2015
Militants belonging to the group have, in the past, targeted government buildings in the capital. However, the attacks have increased in frequency in recent weeks following the Taliban’s announcement of a “spring offensive.” Last month, at least four people were killed in a blast near two government buildings -- the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Mines.