KABUL, Afghanistan — In what appeared to be a concerted effort to test the capabilities of Afghan security forces in the capital, Taliban insurgents sought to penetrate the heavily fortified heart of Kabul, blasting their way into a residential compound of the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations-affiliated agency.
The Afghan forces managed to hold the attackers at bay, and hundreds of international agency employees in nearby compounds escaped harm. But at least two people were killed and 13 wounded, including an Italian woman, and it took more than six hours for hundreds of Afghan police officers to subdue no more than six attackers with suicide vests, guns and grenade launchers.
Explosions continued through the night. Authorities said they were from booby traps the attackers had planted in the compound. All six attackers died in the assault, authorities said.
It was the first example of what the military calls a "complex attack," involving both gunmen and suicide bombers, in the capital since insurgents attacked the headquarters of the unarmed traffic police force in January. It took Afghan forces nine hours to bring that to an end.
There have been other serious attacks in Kabul more recently, including a deadly one just a week earlier in which a suicide car bomber killed six American military advisers, but those have been single bombings, rather than extended engagements.
Killed on Friday were an Afghan policeman and a Nepalese Gurkha guard, who apparently had been on the gate at the migration agency's compound.