Conflict & Justice

Afghanistan: Taliban gunman tries to kill French defense minister


Afghan children ride a bus after taking part in a performance to celebrate the second "World Circus Day" on April 16, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan.


Majid Saeedi

In a failed attempt to assassinate the Afghan and French defense ministers, a Taliban insurgent dressed as an Afghan soldier opened fire Monday inside the Defense Ministry in Kabul, killing two soldiers.

The attacker was also wearing a vest rigged with explosives but was shot to death by Afghan soldiers before he could detonate the bomb, according to a Defense Ministry spokesman, quoted by the LA Times.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid reportedly said the attack targeted French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet and his Afghan counterpart, Abdul Rahim Wardak. But French officials said Longuet was not inside the ministry during the attack.

It was the third deadly attack inside an Afghan or international installation in four days, according to the Associated Press.

On Saturday, an Afghan soldier reportedly linked to the Taliban killed five NATO service members, four Afghan soldiers and an interpreter in in Laghman Province. On Friday, a suicide bomber dressed as a police officer blew himself up inside the Kandahar police headquarters complex, killing the province's top officer.