A nine-hour gun battle raged through the heart of Kabul on Monday, leaving at least seven dead and eight wounded. The latest attack, claimed by the Taliban, shows a defiant insurgency that may not be taking a break for winter.
Armed insurgents attacked the headquarters of the Kabul traffic police, first with a car bomb and two suicide bombs detonated outside the main entrance. At least two fighters then stormed the area and took over the station, holding it for several hours.
One witness talking to Stars & Stripes said the initial bomb "shook the whole office. When I looked outside there was smoke outside the Traffic Police Directorate and then a lot of shooting started.”
This marks the second coordinated attack in the Afghan capital in just five days. Historically, the winter months usually see a drop in violence in the country, as fighters escape the bitter cold and head to safe havens in Pakistan.
Kabul has seen its share of violence, but it is considered to be one of the safer areas of Afghanistan, with most attacks happening far outside the capital city. However, continued attacks could reverse this trend, pouring cold water on Afghan President Hamid Karzai's demand for American troops to shift from security to economic assistance and reconstruction.
Despite the battle, the latest available data from ISAF shows a 19% decrease in enemy attacks from November to December. There is no data available yet for this month.
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