A Leading Afghan TV Station Is Attacked in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked one of Afghanistan’s leading television stations on Tuesday morning, killing two people, Afghan officials said.

The attack happened during business hours, but reports said that most of the roughly 150 employees of the station, Shamshad TV, had safely escaped the building in downtown Kabul, the Afghan capital.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, according to online statements monitored by the SITE Intelligence Group. Shamshad TV stopped broadcasting during the attack but resumed a few hours later, saying it was over. Their anchorman appeared on air with his hands bandaged from injuries he had just suffered.

The district police chief for the area, Avas Akbari, said the attackers had killed a guard and wounded 16 Shamshad employees. They brought a large quantity of ammunition with them, he said, and also wore suicide vests, but for some reason did not detonate them.

Two attackers wearing police uniforms entered the station’s compound, according to Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. He said they had used grenades and automatic weapons during the assault.

“Most of the employees of the TV channel have been transferred to safe places,” Mr. Rahimi said before the attack was declared over.

Wahidulllah Majrooh, a spokesman for the Afghan Health Ministry, said that a total of 21 people had been wounded in the attack and hospitalized, and that two had been killed, in addition to the two attackers.

Shamshad TV is Afghanistan’s major Pashto-language station, broadcasting over the air and by satellite throughout the country. It has heavy viewership in areas where members of the Pashtun ethnic group are most numerous, including most of the areas dominated by the Taliban. The station is a major recipient of American foreign aid, particularly through advertising expenditures.

A number of high-profile attacks in Kabul this year have been carried out by a small cell of Islamic State insurgents operating in Afghanistan. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said his organization was not responsible for the Tuesday attack.

A Shamshad TV reporter, Zabihullah Khorshedi, reached at a hospital, said he was so rattled by the attack that he had forgotten how to speak Persian, in which he is normally fluent. “The situation was so bad,” he said. “We don’t know who is O.K. and who isn’t.”

Sediqullah Tawhidi, director of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, said the attack was the first on a television outlet since January 2016, when the Taliban bombed a van carrying employees of Tolo Television, the country’s largest station.

Mr. Tawhidi said that the fighting at Shamshad was “very intense” and that a female employee was reported to have been shot while fleeing.

In a separate episode on Tuesday, Taliban suicide bombers tried to force their way into a police training center in the Sayid Abad district of Wardak Province, in the center of the country, but were repulsed by police officers guarding the site, according to Abdul Rahman Mangal, a spokesman for the governor of Wardak. The Taliban claimed later that the fighting continued well into the night.

On Monday, Rana Aqbal, an employee of the Pakistani Consulate in Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan, was shot and killed by two gunmen on a motorcycle while shopping in the bazaar, according to Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar Province.


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