Kabul, Afghanistan: Gunmen stormed Afghan television station Shamshad TV in central Kabul after detonating explosives at the gate leaving at least one person dead, while at least twenty have been wounded. Witnesses say the attackers threw grenades and fired guns as they entered the Shamshad TV headquarters. Shamshad TV, a Pashto language station that broadcasts nationwide, was transmitting a holding image instead of its normal programming.
A Shamshad TV employee who managed to escape has told reporters that attackers have entered their compound and gunshots can be heard.
Casualties are feared and at least one person is thought to have been killed, while three have been wounded.
“I saw three attackers on security cameras entering the TV station building. They first shot the guard and then entered the building. They started throwing grenades and firing,” said Shamshad TV reporter Faisal Zaland, who escaped through a back door.
The attack started at about 10:45 am on Tuesday morning when a suicide bomber reportedly detonated his explosives. Two or three gunmen then stormed the building.
The ministry of interior’s spokesman Najib Danish told reporters that security forces are working to clear the compound of campainers.
An Olympic Committee source said their building is behind Shamshad TV and that they were able to rescue about 25 Shamshad TV staff members.
Ambulances and security forces have converged on the area. Gunfire continues to be heard from the scene.
More than 100 employees are thought to be inside the building. At least one female employee was killed while trying to escape, a source confirmed
Shamshad TV director Abed Ehasas was slightly wounded. He said attackers shot at anyone in sight. He said such attacks will not stop the
Afghan media from covering news and delivering stories to the people.
Ehsas said the staff had been in their offices when the attackers entered the building wearing police uniforms “They threw hand grenades at our security guards,”.
According to him one security guard was killed and others were wounded. Ehsas said the attackers then stormed their news offices and “started shooting at anyone in their sight”. He said most of the staff escaped – even by jumping out the windows.
When asked about whether they had received any threat before the attack, he said for media workers in the country, the threat is ongoing.
But he said they had not received any reports of a planned attack against them.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied the militant group was involved in the attack in a Twitter post.
Kabul has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks as the Taliban and Islamic State campainers step up offensives against security installations and mosques.
Last Tuesday a suicide bomber, believed to have been as young as 12, struck Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic quarter and killed at least five people, showing that militants can still hit the heart of the city despite tighter security.
Security in Kabul has been ramped up since a May 31 truck bomb went off on the edge of the so-called “Green Zone”, killing around 150 people and wounding 400 others.
Special truck scanners, barriers and permanent and mobile checkpoints have been rolled out across the city.
The last major assault in Kabul was on October 21 when a suicide attacker hit a busload of Afgha n army trainees, killing 15.
On October 20 a suicide bomber pretending to be a worshipper blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in the city during evening prayers, killing 56 and wounding 55.
Earlier this month Kabul police stopped a lorry carrying 2,700 kilograms (nearly 6,000 pounds) of explosives hidden under boxes of tomatoes, averting a potentially deadly blast.
UPDATE: Kabul – Shamshad TV attack is reportedly under control. Crisis Response Unit is said to be searching neighboring houses.
Shamshad TV has resumed its broadcasts following the deadly attack.
At least two people, including one woman, are believed to have been killed in Tuesday’s attack. At least 20 staffers and journalists were also wounded in the incident. No group has claimed responsibility and the Taliban rejected any involvement in the attack.