Afghan Parliament attacked

Published: June 22, 2015

Afghan Parliament attacked, A woman and a child were killed Monday when Taliban militants staged an attack near the Afghan parliament as lawmakers were about to vote on a new defense minister.

The militants detonated explosives and fired rockets near the parliamentary buildings in Kabul.

A large car bomb exploded near the outer wall of the compound, sending a thick plume of smoke into the sky. Six Taliban fighters then tried to storm inside, said police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi. Twenty-eight people also were injured in the attack.

Afghan security forces managed to fend off the attackers, who then moved into a nearby building, firing rockets and AK-47 machine guns. All six attackers were killed in the ensuing firefight, Karimi said.

Inside the parliament building, lawmakers were gathered in a meeting hall when the first explosion struck, Arif Rahmani, a member of parliament, told CNN.

The blast shattered glass and shook loose a thin layer of the ceiling that filled the hall with a cloud of dust, he said.

The members of parliament had assembled for a general meeting at which Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai, the government’s nominee for defense minister, was to be introduced in order to present his plans and policies ahead of a confidence vote.

All the lawmakers were evacuated from the parliament building unharmed, Karimi said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on his Twitter account that the militant group chose to target the parliament on the day the defense minister was to be introduced to lawmakers.

The U.N. mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack, calling it “a clear and deliberate affront to democracy in Afghanistan.”

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement saying the assault showed “blatant disrespect for democracy and the rule of law.”

Monday’s assault is the latest in a string of high-profile attacks by insurgents in the Afghan capital.

Recent targets have included hotels housing foreigners, like the Park Palace Guest House, where more than a dozen people were killed last month.

More broadly, Afghan forces are grappling with a Taliban offensive across different parts of the country. American-led international troops pulled out of Afghanistan last year.

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