Loud explosions and gunfire have been heard in the parliament building in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Gunmen have stormed the lower house of parliament, with several blasts going off inside and in front of the building.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi has confirmed that there has been an assault on the parliament and that security forces have been deployed there. A Taliban spokesman has claimed responsibility for the attack on the parliament.
Local journalists say six explosions in total have been heard. "Right now, the parliament is empty and full of smoke," Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse reports. TOLOnews journalist Saleha Soadat reports that explosion in the lower house was detonated as the second vice president entered to introduce the nominee for defense ministry. An unknown number of MPs have reportedly sustained shrapnel injuries, the agency said. Television was broadcasting live from the parliament when the blast struck and lawmakers were seen leaving the premises.
Afghan MP Harif Rahmani, who was inside the lower house of parliament at time of the explosions, said no MPs were injured seriously.
The firefight between the militants and the parliament security force continued for more than 20 minutes before additional security forces came to their rescue, Rahmani told TOLOnews.
Rahmani also said that the parliament had been warned about a possible attack a few days ago.
MPs and journalists have been evacuated from the parliament building.
The attack on the lower house of parliament in Kabul comes amid reports that the Taliban has seized part of the Kunduz province in the north of the country, on the border with Tajikistan. Following heavy clashes with law enforcement on Sunday night, Taliban seized security checkpoints around the district, Abdul Jalil, a resident of the district, told Pajhwok Afghan News. On their website, Taliban militants claimed they had seized 14 police posts. Dasht-i-Archi is the second district to fall to Taliban control in the last week, after Chahardara district of the same province was seized by militants last Saturday.
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For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.