12 Feb 2009

Taliban kill 20 in Afghanistan attacks

9:28 am on 12 February 2009

Taliban militants have killed 20 people in three simultaneous attacks on government buildings inside the Afghan capital.

Separate groups of militants, armed with assault rifles and wearing suicide bomb vests, attempted to storm the three government buildings in Kabul on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar says one attacker tried to enter the Education Ministry, but was shot dead.

Minutes later five militants entered the Justice Ministry after killing two guards. A policeman followed them in and killed one of the attackers while the other four fanned out shooting at everyone in sight.

Ten people were killed before police stormed the building and shot dead the remaining attackers.

Meanwhile, in the north of the city, two suicide bombers entered a prison department building. A guard shot one dead before the second killed him and entered the complex, setting off his explosives and killing seven police.

Fifty-seven people were injured in the attacks.

The militants' aim appeared to be to shoot dead as many people as possible before blowing themselves up, a style of attack with similarities to that seen in the Indian city of Mumbai in November.

US envoy Richard Holbrooke is due in Kabul on Thursday after visiting Pakistan where Taliban militants train in the tribal regions.