01/18/2010, 00.00
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The Taliban attack the centre of Kabul

Targeted the presidential palace of Karzai, the Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank. Shoot-out around the Serena Hotel. Two days ago, two Chinese engineers kidnapped.

Kabul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Taliban launched a gun attack this morning in the capital with and at least 20 suicide bombers. The attack targeted the Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank and the palace of President Hamid Karzai. At the moment there is a battle going on between militants and security forces with gin fire being reported around Serena Hotel. This is the only five-star hotel in the capital and is owned by the Aga Khan.  

The attack is taking place as some members of Karzai's new government are about to swear in and to enter the Cabinet. On 16 January, the Afghan parliament rejected 10 of the 17 ministers proposed by Karzai.

Today is the last in a series of violent attacks in the capital. Last October, a Taliban raid targeted a hotel where UN employees were housed and the Serena Hotel. In recent months such attacks have multiplied. On 15 January, a missile exploded at the German embassy in central Kabul.  

On 16 January, the Taliban kidnapped two Chinese engineers along with their 2 drivers and two guards. Taliban spokesman Yusuf Ahmadi, told AFP that the shura, an Islamic court, will decide their fate. In all these years, abductions of foreigners and journalists have occurred for  ransom to support the guerrillas.

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See also
Afghanistan: rocket attack on Presidential Palace in Kabul
Al Qaeda claims Kabul massacre. Karzai cuts short European tour
Karzai invites Mullah Omar to peace talks
Kabul gets truce with Taliban, why is the West losing the war
Car bomb against Indian Embassy kills 40, injures hundreds


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