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Afghan forces shooting insurgents/AFP

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14 dead as Kabul siege ends

KABUL, Sep 14 – Officials raised the death toll in a 19-hour siege in Kabul to 14 Wednesday as the Afghan government announced the violence had come to an end with the killing of two insurgents.

The attacks started Tuesday but dragged into a second day as armed men remained holed up in a high-rise construction site overlooking the US embassy and the headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, an ISAF spokesman, said: “Nineteen (were) wounded, 11 killed, which includes three children.” Cummings told AFP the dead were all civilians.

Interior ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqui previously said that three police were also killed, taking the overall toll to 14.

Cummings added: “We also have six (ISAF troops) wounded in action since yesterday.

“Three of them were US which happened during the main engagement off the ISAF compound… the other three were in support during clearing (of the main building.)”

The death toll covered the main attack plus several much smaller related ones which took place elsewhere in Kabul Tuesday.

Siddiqui said the siege, which has raised fresh serious questions about security in Kabul, was now over.

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“The last attackers are dead and the fighting all over. There were six terrorists in the building and all are dead,” he told AFP.

It is believed to be the first time a Taliban attack on Kabul — seen as relatively safe compared to many other parts of Afghanistan — has taken place across two days.

The coordinated assault is the latest sign that security has deteriorated sharply in the city where insurgents have staged increasingly brazen raids on Western targets.

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