Monday 16 April 2012. Fighting in the Afghan capital has finally ended, 18 hours after the Taliban launched their assault, officials have said.
A spokesman for Kabul’s police chief said the last gunman, who was fighting near the parliament in the west of the city, was killed early on Monday.
Earlier, security forces flushed out insurgents in the central diplomatic area, home to several embassies.
Officials said at least 17 gunmen and one police officer have died.
More than 30 people were injured, many of them civilians.
Attackers also carried out raids in the provinces of Logar, Paktia and Nangarhar.
In Kabul, foreign embassies, Nato’s HQ and the Afghan parliament were hit in the first major attack on the city in more than six months.
“The latest information we have about the Afghan parliament area is that the attack is over now and the only insurgent who was resisting has been killed,” said the Kabul police chief’s spokesman Hashmatullah Stanikzai.
In the central district of Wazir Akbar Khan, offcials said Afghan and Norwegian special forces raided a construction site which the attackers had been using as a base.
Video footage showed soldiers scaling the scaffolding after dawn on Monday, as bullets blasted off walls around them.
The BBC’s Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says there are reports that the gunmen took several construction workers hostage.
“I could not sleep because of all this gunfire now. It’s been the whole night,” local resident Hamdullah told Reuters.
Afghan officials said they have also arrested two would-be suicide bombers, who intended to kill the second vice-president, Mohamed Karim Khalili.
The Taliban said the co-ordinated attacks were a response to recent claims by Nato officials that the insurgency was weak.
“These attacks are the beginning of the spring offensive and we had planned them for months,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.
Correspondents say the attacks have shattered the confidence of Afghans, as the insurgents have once more shown that they can strike right in the heart of Kabul.
The assault has also raised concern about security as Nato prepares to withdraw its troops by the end of 2014 and hand over reponsibility to Afghan forces.
Elsewhere in the country, gunmen attacked government buildings in Logar province, the airport in Jalalabad, and a police facility in the town of Gardez in Paktia province.