Afghan and British security forces fought off a Taliban attack on a complex that hosts foreign contractors — though the terror group claimed they killed and injured “hundreds” in the assault.
Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told reporters that a truck bomb was first detonated outside of the Northgate complex in the early morning hours to pave the way for two gunmen to enter the heavily guarded compound, which includes a hotel, dining, office spaces, conference rooms, a logistics hub, gas station and auto shop.
Staff and guests were able to retreat to special safe rooms as the attack unfolded. There were no civilians or foreigners injured, reported Afghanistan’s Tolo News network. Guards outnumbered the unarmed there, with 11 foreigners, nine staff members and 26 guards there at the time of the attack.
“When the suicide truck bomber detonated his explosive the two other attackers were faced with a police response and hid in an area close to the hotel,” Rahimi said.
Shooting was heard in the area for about half an hour, with up to eight attackers including the suicide bomber reportedly involved. Tolo reported that British special forces, including a sniper team on a roof across from the hotel complex, help kill at least two of the Taliban gunmen. Three Afghan security forces were injured.
The Taliban’s English-language news site said four attackers were involved.
“Initially a heroic martyrdom seeker driving a truck packed with heavy explosives detonated his vehicle at the entrance gate of the camp, shattering the enemy security belt as well as collapsing and damaging many buildings, the dining hall, ammunition, food and fuel depots and halls created for profanity, burying all the invaders under the rubble,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
“Following the huge blast, the 3-man martyrdom seeking team armed with automatic weapons, fire spreading bombs and explosives vests entered the guest house and began engaging the remaining foreigners, guards, caterers, guests and those still alive in their rooms. No person was left alive in this second phase which lasted till around 05:00 am in the morning as each person was killed point black [sic] range or critically injured under the rubble,” Mujahid continued.
“The third phase of the operation by the 3 martyrdom seekers – who had executed their handed out plan with precision and killed everyone on site – engaged the invaders and hirelings from outside for two hours, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy and forcing them to evacuate their dead via ambulances.”
At least one building was severely damaged by the suicide blast. Photos from the scene show rubble littered with wood shipping pallets, suggesting that a part of the compound involved in freight shipping was hit.
Still, the Taliban spokesman insisted “the blessed raid carried out after accurate intelligence gathering indicating presence of hundreds of foreigners resulted in death to most of the enemy personnel inside with injuries to others — most part of the camp was also completely leveled or heavily damaged as well as other heavy material losses caused to the invaders.”
“That the enemy has completely denied any losses or declared only a few casualties is not something new, rather their lies, deceit and turning the other cheek to realities has a long history,” Mujahid added.
The Taliban have a long history of cooking attack claims, often claiming devastating attacks on American personnel or interests that either never happened or had much less devastating results.