Taliban attack Afghan parliament

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Kabul, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber and some gunmen staged a brazen attack on the Afghan parliament today, killing two civilians in an assault claimed by the Taliban, while in the north a second district in two days fell to the militants.

Police said later that all the six attackers had been killed and all lawmakers were safe, but the large-scale assault on parliament and the loss of ground in the north underscored the challenges posed by Taliban militants following the departure of most foreign forces at the end of last year.​

The attack came as President Ashraf Ghani’s nominee for defense minister — a post that has been vacant since he took office in September amid infighting after a disputed election — was to be introduced to lawmakers.

Video footage showed dust and debris filling the parliament chamber as the camera shook violently following the initial blast, which Afghan authorities said killed a woman and a child outside the building.

Police said that seven militants were involved in the attack and that all of them were killed.

“One detonated a car… and six others were killed by security forces after they entered a nearby building,” the Interior Ministry said.

Officials said that all the lawmakers were safe, but that 31 civilians were wounded.

A correspondent for RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan said security was unusually lax around the parliament building on the morning of June 22, before the attack took place.