Four Taliban attackers who launched an hours-long rocket attack on the civilian and military airport in Kabul city have been killed but eyewitnesses report heavy clashes are still ongoing in the area.
MoI officials say however that a large cache of weapons and explosive devices was found in a house insurgents were using.
The officials said of the four attackers - two attackers detonated suicide vests while the other two were gunned down by security forces.
Officials also said at least one mortar, an RPG and several explosive devices including two suicide vests were recovered from the house and a suspicious vehicle has been detected in the area.
According to the ministry, explosions heard on Wednesday night in the city were also that of controlled detonations of some of these devices.
The MoI warned the public however that more controlled explosions could be carried out through the night.
Reports indicate that anywhere between 30 and 45 rockets were fired off during the course of the day, which resulted in the total lockdown of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul city.
Aviation authorities said all flights into the city had been diverted and all outgoing flights were stopped.
Early reports indicated no damage had been sustained to the runway but that officials had to clear it of shrapnel.
The attack was launched at about 11am on Wednesday and carried on for most of the day – with local residents stating heavy gunfire could still be heard in the area at 7pm.
Residents in PD9’s Qala-e-Mir Abbas have however fled the area in droves – many seeking shelter in the homes of relatives in other parts of the city.
Around mid-afternoon foreign coalition troops carried out an airstrike on the targeted house but both bombs missed the target, eyewitnesses reported.
Officials have said that a number of guest houses and military facilities around the airport have been badly damaged, along with dozens of houses.
Security officials said late Wednesday afternoon that at least one civilian was killed and 11 wounded.
Sources also told TOLOnews that damage had been sustained to the NATO base at the airport. No details were given nor were any casualties mentioned.
The rocket attack was launched just after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Kabul.
Meanwhile, a Kabul resident living next door to the house the attackers used said: “I am worried about my family. The house (next door) was rented (to the attackers) about a month ago.”
“Six of my family members were stuck in the house (during the attack),” he said.
Hundreds of security forces including foreign troops converged on the area and during the course of the afternoon used a drone to identify the launch site and to determine the number of attackers in the house.
But when military helicopters were brought in to bomb the house, they reportedly missed their target.
TOLOnews reporter Tamim Hamid who was close to the scene at the time said: “I was at the scene and I heard that security forces called over the radio that the choppers missed the target area.”
Both the Taliban and Daesh have claimed responsibility for the attack, while the Taliban said that Mattis had been the target.
During the attack, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held a joint press conference with Stoltenberg and Mattis – all of whom condemned the attack.
Stoltenberg said Wednesday’s attack on Kabul airport was a sign of weakness on the part of the Taliban, while Mattis called the attack “a crime”.