Armed men have detonated a car bomb before storming a Kabul government compound in an ongoing attack, officials and witnesses said, in the latest violence to rock the Afghan capital.
A number of armed attackers entered the compound where the Ministry of Public Works and an office of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled are located, Interior Ministry Deputy Spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said on Monday.
Kabul police chief spokesman Basir Mujahid said police have cordoned off the area and were still battling the gunmen.
Mushtaq Rahim, a security analyst based in Kabul, told Al Jazeera that he had passed by the area a few minutes after the attack took place.
“The blast took place just before staff left their offices for the day,” he said. “There’s a lot of smoke coming out of the area. A fire had broken out in the building where the ministry is placed.”
According to a health ministry spokesman, at least four people have been wounded.
One had broken several bones after jumping from the third floor of a building to escape the attackers, an AFP correspondent at a hospital said. Another two were wounded by broken glass.
Several apartment buildings and as well as a government public works department building are located in the same area of the eastern Kabul neighborhood where the attack is underway.
Ashraf, a witness who works at the Ministry of Public Works and who goes by one name, said armed men inside the compound were exchanging gunfire with security forces.
“They are also firing at the NDS facility nearby,” he told AFP, referring to the Afghan spy agency, the National Directorate of Security.
Monday’s attack was the biggest in Kabul since November 28 when the Taliban detonated a vehicle bomb outside the compound of British security firm G4S, killing at least 10 people and leaving a massive crater in the road.
Al Jazeera and news agencies