Gunmen Kill 19 in Kabul Attacks

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 6:50 AM CST
Afghan security men are seen at the building following a suicide attack on the ministry's corrections department in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ahmad Massoud)
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(Newser) – Gunmen launched coordinated suicide attacks on three government buildings in Afghanistan’s capital today, killing at least 19 and injuring more than 50, the BBC reports. Attackers armed with AK-47s, grenades, and in some cases explosive vests hit the prison directorate and the justice and education ministries. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assaults, saying they were in response to the treatment of Taliban prisoners.

Four gunmen burst into the justice ministry and opened fire, with two surviving the ensuing gunfight to capture the upper floors. Employees, including the justice minister, locked themselves in their offices, as police scaled the building with ladders. The siege lasted several hours before all the attackers were killed. Two other gunmen were killed at the prison ministry, and one while trying to enter the education ministry.