The Latest: Taliban launches attack on Afghan gov't agency

The Latest on the militant assault on an Afghan government security compound in Kabul (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Afghan officials have increased the casualty figures from a coordinated militant assault on a key government security agency compound in the capital, Kabul. Ismail Kawasi, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said Tuesday that so far 208 wounded people, including women and children, have been brought to area hospitals. An Interior Ministry statement said that there have been fatalities but it was still unclear how many people were killed.

The casualty figures are expected to rise as a gun battle was still underway early Tuesday afternoon in Kabul.


9 a.m.

Armed militants in Afghanistan have staged a coordinated assault on a key government security agency in the capital Tuesday morning, wounding nearly 200 people. The Taliban has claimed responsibility.

The attack, including a suicide car bombing, appears to have targeted an agency similar to the U.S. Secret Service, providing personal protection for high-ranking government officials.

Ismail Kawasi, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said so far 198 wounded people have been brought to area hospitals.

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said Tuesday that the suicide attack was followed by an assault by armed militants. The area has been surrounded by government forces and dozens of ambulances have rushed to the scene.

"Security forces are in a fight with an unknown number of armed insurgents right now," Mohammad Afzel, a police officer at the site of the attack, told The Associated Press.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, and said that a number of their fighters were currently inside the compound battling with security forces.

Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks recently since announcing the start of their spring offensive last week.

President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning the attack and saying it, "clearly shows the enemy's defeat in face-to-face battle with Afghan security forces."