Kabul:A Taliban suicide attacker
targeted a popular shopping mall in the heart of the Afghan
capital Kabul today, killing two guards and wounding at least
two other people, officials said.
Interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said
that the attacker blew himself up after he was stopped at the
gates of the Kabul City Centre, Afghanistan's first
modern-style indoor shopping complex that opened in 2005.
"It was a single blast. A suicide bomber tried to
enter the mall. He was stopped by the guards at the entrance,
he blew himself up and killed the two armed private guards and
injured two other people nearby," he said.
The bombing underscored the prevailing insecurity in
Kabul, where the Taliban claimed the attack following a string
of other assaults on shops and guesthouses frequented by
Westerners in the last year.
"Two people, both guards of City Centre, have been
killed and two other people are injured," Kabul police chief
Mohammad Ayoub Salangi told reporters.
A senior police official earlier said that an
explosion had targeted the mall and that gunmen had stormed
inside, where they were exchanging fire with government
"There was an explosion at the entrance of Kabul City
Centre. There are gunshots being heard right now as I'm
heading off towards it," Mohammad Zahir, Kabul police criminal
investigation chief, said.
A reporter at the scene said the entrance to the
mall had been blown up and that dozens of police had sealed
off the area.
The mall boosted security and required visitors to
undergo a body search after a Taliban attack on a nearby
guesthouse in February 2010 killed 16 people, including one
French national, one Italian and seven Indians.
Made of shimmering glass, the multi-storey Kabul City
Center is equipped with escalators and see-through elevators.
The top six floors of the mall belong to the Safi
Landmark Hotel, which is owned by a Dubai-based hotel and
resort company, and frequented by Westerners.
It was the first major attack in the Afghan capital
since eight people died in a suicide bombing on a supermarket
near the British embassy on January 28.
Security in the capital is managed by Afghan forces.
First Published: Monday, February 14, 2011, 22:35