KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents launched what appeared to be simultaneous attacks in the Afghan capital on Wednesday — one close to the Asian Development Bank’s offices in Kabul, and the other in the western part of the city near a police headquarters.
In rural Afghanistan, two more districts in separate northern provinces fell to Taliban control on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, six Afghan policemen were killed in an airstrike, which local officials blamed on the American military, although there was no confirmation of that.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both of the attacks in Kabul, which left at least six people wounded, according to Wahidullah Majroh, the spokesman for the Afghan public health ministry. Officials said fighting was still under way hours after it began; most of them would not comment on the record, saying they did not have permission to do so.
In one of the attacks, in the Shar-e Naw neighborhood of downtown Kabul, an unknown number of gunmen attempted to enter the compound housing the Asian Development Bank, an important multinational donor agency for the Afghan government, but were repulsed by guards. The fighters then climbed an adjacent tall building that was under construction, according to a local police commander, and continued their attack from there.
Sayed Masood Alam, an employee of Asian Development Bank in Kabul, was reached by telephone inside its building. “We are all in safe room, the fighting is close to us, I don`t know about my colleagues who are outside and I cannot talk more,” he said.
In western Kabul, in a largely Hazara neighborhood that has suffered numerous recent suicide bombings, gunmen struck near the local police headquarters. But it was unclear whether security forces were the intended target, or if the attackers meant to assault two nearby wedding halls, a security official at the scene said. Local residents were so incensed by the attack that many of them armed themselves and had to be restrained by police from going after the attackers.
Recent attacks in that area targeted polling places, killing 14 people this month, and more than 50 others two weeks earlier.
In northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, local officials said that the Taliban had seized control of two more districts.
In Faryab province, the center of Belcheragh district and the area’s government buildings fell to a Taliban attack Tuesday night, according to Jamil Sediqi, the governor of that district. The rest of the area had already been under Taliban control.
In Baghlan province, the Taliban took Tala Wa Barfak, which has long been the object of heavy fighting, according to Zabihullah Shoja, a spokesman for the provincial police department. The district had previously fallen to Taliban control in 2015 but the government later retook it. It is a strategic area, lying on a main east-west highway linking the central Afghan province of Bamian to the rest of the country.
Officials did not immediately have details of any casualties in the takeover of the two districts.
The latest assaults bring to 15 the number of Afghanistan’s 407 districts under insurgent control, based on figures from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, an American government watchdog agency. In addition, the agency said, another 46 districts are under insurgent influence.
About 65 percent of the Afghan population live in areas under government control or influence, while the rest in parts of the country that are under insurgent control or influence, the agency said.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan Wednesday, local authorities reported that an airstrike, which they attributed to American forces, killed six local policemen in Badghis province. There was no immediate comment from the American military.