KABUL, Afghanistan — Two suicide bombers attacked a British compound in the Afghan capital on Friday, killing at least three people and wounding two, police and eyewitnesses said. The attack was followed by sporadic gunfire exchanges several hours after the blasts.
The explosions started with one bomber detonating an explosives-laden car outside the British Council while another suicide bomber struck inside the compound, according to Afghan police.
Afghan security forces dispatched to the scene later said they were exchanging sporadic gunfire with at least one other insurgent who got into the compound. The stand-off was still going on four hours after the initial blasts.
British authorities would not say whether any of their personnel were inside the building at the time of the attack.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The twin blasts occurred in the early hours of Afghan Independence Day, marking Afghanistan's full independence from Britain in 1919. It was unclear whether the attack was related to the anniversary.
Kabul police official Farooq Asas said a suicide bomber first detonated a car laden with explosives outside the compound. At least one insurgent attacked the compound on foot, Asas said.
Two Afghan policemen and a municipal worker were killed, he said.
The explosions shattered glass windows a third of a mile (half a kilometer) from the site.
Afghan troops at the scene around the British Council early Friday morning were making preparations to assault the compound. NATO troops were also there in an advisory role.
The walled compound of the British Council is located in an upscale residential area in west Kabul. It consists of two buildings, one is a two-story building and the is other a single-story structure. The Council focuses on aiding foreign nations with education and building civil society.
Friday's fighting damaged two neighboring high schools and several auto repair and auto parts shops nearby.
While violence continues to rage in many parts of Afghanistan, attacks in the capital are relatively uncommon. In June, 21 people were killed at a Kabul hotel, including nine insurgents, with militants fighting NATO and Afghan troops for five hours with rocket-propelled grenades and suicide bombs.