March 1, 2017 - 17:21 AMT
Taliban claim attacks in Kabul, at least three dead

Afghan Taliban militants said they attacked police, military and intelligence targets in Kabul on Wednesday, March 1 and security officials confirmed attacks in at least two areas of the city that killed at least three people and wounded dozens, Reuters reports.

A resounding explosion was heard across the city as a car bomb was detonated near a police headquarters in the west of the city, the interior ministry said. The blast was followed immediately by gunfire between security forces and an unknown number of attackers.

Fighting at the police headquarters, not far from a military training school, lasted for several hours with gunmen barricaded inside the building.

Najib Danesh, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said the attack was suppressed by late afternoon and security forces were conducting checks of the area.

A separate attack appeared to have targeted an office of Afghanistan's main intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security (NDS), on the eastern outskirts of Kabul. However a senior army official said that attack was quickly suppressed.

"Two terrorists entered a building. One blew himself up and the second was shot by Afghan security forces," said Abdul Nasir Ziaee, commander of 111th corps based in the east of the city.

A spokesman for the Taliban, who sometimes exaggerate the impact of their operations, sent a statement claiming responsibility for the attacks, which he said had caused heavy casualties.

An official from the ministry of public health said at least three people had been killed and at least 38 people had been wounded and transferred to hospital in the two attacks.

Last month, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people outside the Supreme Court in Kabul. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for that attack.

The Taliban are seeking to expel foreign troops, defeat the U.S.-backed government and reimpose Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.

The Wednesday attacks come shortly ahead of the period when the Taliban usually announce a spring offensive, and underline warnings from Afghan officials that they faced a difficult year.

Government forces have struggled to control the insurgency since a NATO-led force ended its combat mission in 2014.

According to U.S. estimates, Afghan government forces now control less than 60 percent of the country although they hold all main provincial centers.