Five people were killed and 24 injured in a terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, authorities said.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, in the aftermath of which four terrorists were also killed, according to the Afghan government. Just before noon local time on Wednesday, the attackers detonated an explosive-laden vehicle at the gates of non-governmental organization Counterpart International in the Afghan capital, said Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimy.
Images following the blast showed a plume of black smoke rising over the city Four terrorists were able to enter the organization's offices before Afghan special forces arrived, Rahimy said. During a nearly five-hour battle, all four were killed. Two hundred of the organization's employees were rescued by Afghan forces. The death toll includes one woman and one special forces member.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid claimed responsibility for the attack. Counterpart International is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and focuses on strengthening civil society and promoting social equality, according to its website. In a statement, the organization said it had worked in Afghanistan for 12 years and never faced a similar attack before.
The US has been in on-again, off-again peace talks with the Taliban for months. Yesterday, on May 7, the US Embassy in Kabul published a security alert on its website, advising US citizens that "attacks can occur at any time without warning," and requesting that travelers avoid large crowds despite an "increased police presence" in the area.