10 explosions, including six suicide blasts, have been reported in Kandahar by Al Jazeera.Gunmen holed up in a five-storey shopping mall traded fire with security forces at the provincial governor’s compound, a Reuters witness said.
Afghan officials have confirmed the attack, according to the AFP: “Small-arms fire is still going on. Two RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) have been fired onto the building so far. The northern and eastern sides of the compound are under direct attack,” provincial spokesman Zalmay Ayubi said. He added: “We have reports of people injured, but no word on fatal casualties so far.”
Firing was also reported from near a school and police station on the road to Camp Gecko, a US Special Forces base built on the site of Osama bin Laden’s former home in Kandahar, according to Al Jazeera.
Tweets from the BBC’s Bilal Sawary:
- 6:50 ET: Kandahar governors office, NDS Kandahar and a police sub-station five all under attack, a senior police official says
- 6:50 ET: 2 sucide attackers shot dead as they tried to enter inside special police unit,2 was killed before he could get close to NDS,NDS Kandahar
- 7:45 ET: Fighting still intense in Kand city.NDS,Governor’s compound and Mullah Omaar’s old house(home to Af-US base)still under attack,NDS Kanahdar
- 7:45 ET: Most of the shops in Kandahar city closed. Forget about humans, even the birds have fled the city, says a shopkeeper in Chowke Madad
- 9:36 ET: ANA,ANP,NDS and ISAF patrolling Kandahar city.Fighting still intense.We dont know how many Taliban inside city,a senior Af official says
The Taliban vowed last week to launch a “spring offensive” in retaliation for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Kandahar, the home of the Taliban, was already slipping away from NATO following the escape of hundreds of Taliban break out of jail in April.