Taliban gunmen stormed a Kabul guesthouse used by a U.S.-based aid group and held four foreigners hostage for several hours on Friday, just eight days before Afghanistan holds a presidential election which the militant group has vowed to derail.
Kabul is already on high alert and people across the country are on edge ahead of an April 5 vote the hardline Islamist movement denounces as a Western-backed sham.
The siege of the walled compound, which is also home to a small church, lasted several hours before Afghan security forces killed the last remaining Taliban gunman holed up inside.
At least one Afghan child was killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the building and insurgents forced their way in. There were no casualties among foreigners.
A Reuters witness saw about 20 people being evacuated from the guesthouse in an upmarket residential area of Kabul, many looking frightened and shocked.
Violence has spiraled in Afghanistan in recent weeks with almost daily explosions and gunfights around the country.
Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked an election commission office in Kabul on Tuesday, and last week, nine people including an AFP journalist and an election observer were killed in an attack on a highly fortified hotel in the capital.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Friday’s assault, saying in a statement that the target was a foreign guesthouse and a church.