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Taliban Strike In Heart Of Kabul, Killing At Least 28

Afghan security forces respond to a Taliban-claimed suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Afghan security forces respond to a Taliban-claimed suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

The Taliban struck in the heart of Kabul Tuesday in a coordinated suicide bomb and ground assault on a government security agency, killing at least 28 and wounding more than 300 only days after the insurgent group announced the start of its annual spring offensive.

The attack, one of the worst in the Afghan capital in years, was likely to figure in the recommendations to President Obama of Army Gen. John Nicholson, the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, on whether to continue with the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Nicholson was expected to finish his assessment next month on whether to go ahead with reducing the American presence from the current level of about 9,500 troops to 5,500 by the end of this year as originally planned by Obama.

The attack began with a suicide bomber in a small truck setting off a massive explosion at the gates of a security agency charged with protecting top officials and was followed by Taliban fighters rushing through the gates firing small arms, according to Afghan officials.

The attack broke weeks of relative calm in the Afghan capital. As he has after past suicide attacks,  Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that the attack showed the inability of the Taliban to meet the Afghan National Security Forces "face-to-face" on the battlefield.

--Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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