Norwegian soldiers still stationed in and around Kabul took part Monday morning in the response to attacks on the headquarters for the local traffic police. The Norwegian military (Forsvaret) reported that they came to the aid of Afghan special forces.
Two suicide bombers reportedly attacked the building in Kabul housing the traffic police around 6am Monday. The bombers also exploded a car parked near the building, along with themselves.
Several other persons then tried to storm the building, armed with automatic weapons and bomb vests. It was initially unclear how many were involved in the attack. Norwegian military officials reported that their soldiers took part in the battle as leaders for the Afghan special forces who were dispatched to fend off the insurgents.
Lt Col Bent-Ivan Myhre told news bureau NTB that the fight was still going on four hours after the initial attack, with Afghan forces in direct battle with the insurgents. “The (Norwegian) military’s special commando was with them as leaders,” Myhre told NTB.
A photographer for French news bureau AFP reported that Norwegian soldiers also fired shots at the police building and at the attackers.
It was unclear how many were killed or wounded in the attack. Five insurgents were reported dead along with three Afghan police officers. “So far we have no reports on dead or wounded either among the Norwegian or Afghan special forces.” Myhre told NTB.
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, noting that the police station was a target because its training center is run by foreign soldiers.
Norway, which has been involved in the lengthy fight against the Taliban since a NATO-led operation began more than a decade ago, has been withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan but some officers and special forces remain, including those training local police and military.
The traffic police building that was attacked also serves local citizens obtaining driving licenses and registering vehicles. Witnesses said it was now surrounded by police and special forces after more than five hours of fighting ended in the afternoon. There were reports of fire trucks, ambulances and police “all over” as well, and that the the top floors of the building were on fire.