Armed militants in Afghanistan staged a coordinated assault on a key government security agency in Kabul Tuesday morning, killing at least 28 people. The Taliban has claimed responsibility. The attack appears to have targeted an agency similar to the US Secret Service, providing personal protection for high-ranking government officials, the AP reports. Kabul Police Chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi told reporters that another 327 people were wounded in the assault, which began with a powerful suicide car bomb attack on the agency compound gates. A group of armed militants then entered the compound and waged a prolonged battle with government security forces, which officials say has now ended.
Dozens of civilian apartment buildings, houses, and shops, as well as several government buildings, were damaged by the car bomb blast. Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks since announcing the start of their spring offensive last week, though the Guardian notes that the winter was unusually violent, with multiple attacks in the capital and elsewhere. President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning the latest attack, saying it "clearly shows the enemy's defeat in face-to-face battle with Afghan security forces." (The Taliban claimed to have just missed John Kerry with a rocket attack during his recent visit to Kabul.)