Taliban militants launched near-simultaneous attacks on three Afghan
government buildings in Kabul Wednesday, killing at least 26 people and
wounding nearly 60.
Afghan officials say eight suicide attackers also died in the daytime assault after they tried to kill as many people as possible. Some blew themselves up, while others were killed by security guards.
The assaults against the Justice Ministry, Education Ministry and the office of prisons came ahead of a visit to Kabul by the U.S. envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke.
Shortly after the attacks began, a Taliban spokesman (Zabiullah Mujaheed) called VOA and other news outlets, saying the suicide bombers were trying to kill the justice minister. He was not hurt.
The United States and United Nations condemned the attacks.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks as a "horrendous crime against civilians" and "a total disrespect of human rights."
A U.S. Defense Department spokesman (Bryan Whitman) called the attacks "somewhat bold, brazen and troubling."
Interior Ministry officials said the attacks demonstrated a high degree of coordination, adding there are indications that some of the militants were foreigners.
Afghanistan's security chief (Amrullah Saleh) said authorities are investigating the possibility militant groups in Pakistan are linked to the assault.
Also Wednesday, in eastern Logar province, a French soldier and his Afghan interpreter were killed when gunmen set off explosives near their convoy and then opened fire on the troops.
Military officials say another French soldier was seriously wounded in the attack.