A day after coordinated militant attacks in Kabul, police said a travel agency in Shahr-e-Naw area in downtown Kabul was the target of suicide attackers.
"Their target was a company called Shahir which provides Indian visa services,” Kabul Police Chief Mohammad Daud Amin told TOLOnews on Thursday.
The PD10 Police Chief Abdul Waheed Ahmadi said three policemen and a security guard from Etisalat Telecommunication Company were killed and 16 others sustained “minor injuries” in the attack.
He said five “suicide attackers” were involved in the attack at Shahr-e-Naw.
Eyewitnesses said the five suicide attackers had normal Afghan clothes and walked out of a car near the company and killed one soldier by shooting him and another blew up his explosives. The second suicide attack was carried out a minute later on the other side of the door.
The third suicide attack happened a little further from the place where the second explosion happened.
Two other attackers entered a restaurant near the company through the door. The restaurant is now in ruins.
Police said the attackers had guns, hand grenades and suicide vests. They have left shell casings, dried fruit, hats and suicide vests inside the hotel.
The two suicide attackers went to the second floor of the restaurant and fought government forces from 12:00pm to 5:00pm Kabul time. Finally, one of them was killed by security forces in a bathroom in the restaurant while the second was killed while in a hall.
Amin said the attackers wanted to enter a high-rise building and hit their targets from there – but were not successful.
“There were many national and international organizations around the building and if the attackers entered the building they would have threatened all the offices including the Asian (Development) Bank, Shahir Travel Agency and the PD10 police headquarters,” Ahmadi told TOLOnews.
From information released by the Ministry of Interior, at least 350 people were inside Shahir Travel Agency when the attack happened. Meanwhile, dozens of others were inside nearby buildings including the Asian Development Bank branch, a department of the Attorney General’s Office, the PD10 Police Headquarters’ building, the Directorate of Hajj and Religious Affairs, shops and companies. All were rescued, the ministry said.
Residents of the area and eyewitnesses said the area has been under threat since a long time ago.
“They (militants) threatened to attack this area and now they have,” said Samiullah, an eyewitness.
“The area has been under threat during the past two months,” said Atiqullah, an eyewitness.
Kabul witnessed coordinated attacks on Wednesday. Daesh and Taliban militants claimed responsibility for separate attacks.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement that Haqqani network had plotted Wednesday's suicide bombings in Kabul with the help of Lashkar-e-Taiba.