KABUL (Reuters) - Four Afghan Taliban suicide bombers died when a group of the militants tried to storm an international zone in Kabul on Wednesday in the latest high-profile assault aimed at foreign targets in Afghanistan.
The attackers tried to break into a complex known as Green Village, starting with the explosion of a van at the gate of the heavily guarded area in eastern Kabul that houses foreign contractors and various facilities.
Security forces repelled them after about an hour of fighting and no casualties were reported among the area's residents, officials said.
Attacks on foreign troops, Afghan government officials and security forces have intensified as the international military coalition ends operations, leaving the fight against the Taliban insurgency mostly to Afghan forces.
"Four suicide bombers have been killed, there was no harm to civilians," said deputy Interior Minister General Ayoub Salangi. It was not immediately clear how the attackers died.
"Since the Green Village had been targeted several times in the past, the place was heavily guarded and the attackers failed to reach their intended target. Only one guard was wounded," said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
The Afghan Taliban, ousted from power by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001, have been staging almost daily attacks in Kabul and claimed responsibility for the latest assault.
"Suicide bombers attacked the invading forces’ base called the Green Village," their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said by text message. "The attack began with blowing up a car packed with explosives and other fighters, armed with heavy and light weapons, arrived at the area and started the gunfight."
A Western security source at the Green Village told Reuters there had been between four and six explosions.
Another Western security source said the attackers failed to get inside but their grenades went over the wall and hit Green Village premises. They may have also fired rocket-propelled grenades, the source said.
The Green Village is one of Kabul's most heavily guarded compounds, surrounded by layers of tall grey blast walls and multiple security check points.
On Tuesday morning, a truck bomb ripped through the outer perimeter of a foreign security compound in Kabul, killing two Afghan security guards and wounding a foreigner.
Additional reporting by Jessica Donati Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Tom Heneghan