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Three gunmen killed in early-morning bankraid

Article published on the 2009-08-19 Latest update 2009-08-19 09:47 TU

Armed police race out of the Kabul street where alleged Taliban staged a bank raid Wednesday(Photo: Tony Cross / RFI)

Armed police race out of the Kabul street where alleged Taliban staged a bank raid Wednesday
(Photo: Tony Cross / RFI)

A bank in the Afghan capital Kabul was stormed by gunmen early on Wednesday and the surrounding area was sealed off, says RFI's Tony Cross.

Armed police forced their way in after the gunmen took the bank and Police Chief Sayed Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada said that the police had killed "three of the attackers in the bank".

The police chief went on to claim that the attackers had been Taliban, although Tony Cross points out from Kabul, "bankraids are not the Taliban's style". He says the bank was reportedly targeted because it is perceived as having the worst security in the capital.

"It's clear that the Taliban are doing their best to disrupt the election", he says, "even in Kabul which has been relatively peaceful".

The attack came on Afghanistan's national Independance day and just one day ahead of the country's second presidential election.

"This wave may well be a warning that if the national independence celebrations go ahead, that those also may be disrupted and there may be a repetition of an attack four years ago on that national independance day when President Hamid Karzai could have been killed"

Also on Wednesday Nato said that a US soldier was killed in the south of the country in a "hostile incident". The death brings to four the number of ISAF forces killed on Tuesday.