Kabul: A Taliban suicide bomber and at least six gunmen attacked the Afghan Parliament today triggering massive explosions and forcing lawmakers to flee the smoke-filled building. A woman and child are killed in the incident that left at least 40 people wounded.
"A suicide bomber blew him up just outside the Parliament building and several fighters took positions in a building close to Parliament," Ebadullah Karimi, spokesperson for Kabul police told the media persons.
Lawmakers and staff members were evacuated, said Abdul Haseeb Siddiqui, spokesperson for the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan spy agency.
The gunmen were unable to enter the Parliament because of the strong security presence, sources said.
Explaining the magnitude of explosion, lawmaker Shukria Barekzai said, "It was a huge blast that shook the building and shattered windows. We are in a safe place right now."
In a message sent to the media, Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said, suicide bombers had launched the attack on Parliament. The Taliban described it as a “coordinated suicide attack”.
The attack on Parliament came as the Taliban captured Dasht-e-Archi district a day after hundreds of militants took control of the adjacent district of Chardara.
The Taliban launched its annual spring offensive in April and violence spiraled in Afghanistan since the departure of most foreign forces during the end of 2014.
This is the first year that the Afghan security forces are battling the Taliban without being backed by foreign troops. The fall of the second district has however raised questions about the ability of Nato-trained Afghan security forces against the Taliban.
The militants are pushing to take over the territory since the US-led military intervention that toppled the Taliban from power. The withdrawal of foreign troops and a reduction in US air strikes have made space for the Taliban to relaunch attacks in key provinces.