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KABUL,AFGHANISTAN-Early afternoon in the Afghan capitol, explosions rang out and weapons fire filled the air as four Taliban gunmen stormed a high-rise building under construction and used it as a firing platform in an attack on the American Embassy and NATO headquarters in the Green Zone. This was only one part of a four pronged attack taking place in the city.
In other parts of the city, two car bombers set off explosives. A third was identified and killed as he attempted to reach his target near the Kabul Airport.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that there were no reports of U.S. casualties in the attack. She said the “dedicated, brave men and women” from the United States who work for the Afghan people “will not be intimidated” by this cowardly act.
According to the Afghan Health Ministry, casualties include one civilian dead and eighteen wounded, none of the wounded received serious injuries. Other sources put the toll at two civilians, two police officers killed and twenty others wounded.
The attack came as NATO is transitioning the security responsibilities of the city over to Afghan Security forces as NATO moves towards drawing down forces. The attack has led to concerns that Taliban forces have deeply infiltrated the ranks of the Afghan Security forces. “Transition is on track, and it will continue,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters.
Immediately after the attacks, the Taliban claimed responsibility. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says the targets were the headquarters of the international military forces, the Afghanistan spy agency, and the American embassy.
NATO is scheduled to complete withdrawal from that country by the end of 2014.