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Taliban Target US Embassy, NATO in Kabul Attack

September 13, 2011

Gunfire and bomb blasts were heard throughout the Afghan capital Tuesday, as security forces worked to repel the assault near the city's diplomatic district. Officials say a police officer and two insurgents have been killed.

Afghan police say up to five attackers took over a multi-story building under construction in Kabul's Abdul Haq square and begin firing at key targets.

NATO said a small group of insurgents attacked the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy and coalition headquarters, firing from outside the compound. Both Afghan and NATO forces responded to the attack, with coalition forces also providing air support.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul also confirmed Tuesday's attack near its heavily guarded compound, but said there were no casualties among embassy personnel. Embassy spokeswoman Kerri Hannan said that staff had been ordered to take cover.

A Taliban spokesman told news agencies that the insurgents' primary targets were the Afghan intelligence agency, a ministry, the U.S. Embassy, and NATO.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that he was confident that Afghan forces could deal with the situation in Kabul. He also said that the transfer of security from NATO to Afghan forces would not be derailed by such attacks. The NATO chief said transition is on track and will continue.

The attack comes just days after insurgents carried out an attack on a NATO base in central Afghanistan on Saturday, killing four Afghan civilians and wounding more than 100 others, include 77 U.S. troops.

The Taliban claimed responsibility the attack outside the main gate of the Combat Outpost Sayed Abad in Wardak province. But Pentagon spokesman George Little said Monday there is a very strong likelihood that the Pakistan-based Haqqani leadership supported and was aware of the attack.

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