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Blasts, fighting spell bleak future for Afghan stability

By Chen Xin, Yangtze Yan (Xinhua)

11:20, April 16, 2012

KABUL, April 15 (Xinhua) -- "Be careful," An Afghan policeman said as he approached Xinhua reporter, "You'd better take cover behind that wall. It's very dangerous here." After leading us to a small allay, he went back to the main road to continue his patrol.

This is Afghanistan, a country that has suffered endless conflicts for 30 years. For local people, war has long been part of their life. However, the multiple blasts and gun battle in Kabul and other Afghan provinces on Sunday still stimulated the nerves of ordinary Afghan people.

A group of insurgents, including some suicide bombers, attacked a luxurious hotel and several foreign embassies in downtown Kabul, according to police and eye witnesses. Among the targets, German and Russian embassies were attacked by suicide bombers, while British and Japanese embassies came under the attack of two and three rocket-propelled grenades respectively.

The Afghan parliament building in southwestern part of Kabul was also attacked by insurgents, where local reports said that several lawmakers on the spot had to take up arms to fight back.

Meanwhile, blasts and gun battles also occurred in other provinces of Afghanistan.

In Jalalabad, capital of Nangahar province some 120 kilometers east of Kabul, the militants, according to a local official who declined to be identified, targeted the NATO-led civilian-military unit -- Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) with suicide car bomb but failed to inflict casualties. And several rockets fired by militants slammed into Jalalabad airport.

The police headquarter in Gardez, capital of eastern province Paktia, and the governor's office in Logar province of eastern Afghanistan, were also attacked by insurgents.

Shortly after the first bomb, Afghan police and security forces sealed off the area around the Kabul Star Hotel, a target of the attack. Groups of policeman and Afghan National Army soldiers were seen doing patrol on empty Kabul main roads, which usually should have been packed with heavy traffic.

All the roads leading to Kabul city have been closed by police and streets are deserted, Farukh Shah, an eye witness, told Xinhua, saying police do not allow any pedestrian to walk on streets.

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