Taliban militants kill themselves in Afghan siege - Emirates24|7

Taliban militants kill themselves in Afghan siege

Five Taliban militants blew themselves up in a house in the Afghan capital Kabul after 10 hours of clashes with besieging Afghan security forces on Wednesday, an Interior Ministry official said.

While the Taliban have launched sporadic suicide attacks in Kabul, the militants have not before been detected in any numbers inside the city which they have vowed to target this year in their fight to overthrow the pro-Western Afghan government.

The clash comes just days after Taliban gunmen fired at a state parade sending President Hamid Karzai, his cabinet and the military top brass diving for cover. Three people were killed in Sunday's attack before troops killed three Taliban attackers.

One of the men who died in Wednesday's siege had taken part in the parade attack, a Taliban spokesman said. One other militant, a woman and her daughter were also killed during a raid on the house, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press quoted the spokesman as saying.

Afghan security forces surrounded a house where the suspected militants were holed up during the night and clashes erupted. The crack of small arms fire could be heard through the morning as state security officers led army and police battling the gunmen.

"They were killed when they blew themselves up in the house. There were five of them," an Interior Ministry official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

Police were looking into whether there were casualties caused by the explosion among civilians in neighbouring houses, he said.

Two officers of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the state security and intelligence service, were also killed in the fighting, a police official said.

Taliban fighters fled Kabul in late 2001 to escape a US-led aerial onslaught and a ground assault by Afghan militia.

In the years immediately after 2001, the Taliban regrouped and two years ago relaunched their insurgency with guerrilla attacks on Afghan and international troops mainly in the south and east, backed by suicide bombs across the country.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force is due to hand security of the capital over to Afghan forces in the second half of this year. This week's attacks have led many in parliament and among the public at large to question whether Afghanistan's security apparatus is up to the task.