Taliban militants in Afghanistan have attacked the country's electoral headquarters in a bid to disrupt the country's first democratic transition of power.
Five Taliban militants, disguised behind women's burqas, stormed a building close to the Independent Election Commission in Kabul Saturday and attacked the commission with explosives and small-arms fire. All five militants were killed after a standoff with police. According to Euronews there were no other fatalities, but two officers were wounded and some buildings set on fire during the attack.
It's the latest in a string of attacks in Kabul for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility; just yesterday two people were killed after an American charity was stormed by Taliban forces. Last week Taliban gunmen opened fire inside a luxury hotel, killing nine people, and Tuesday another electoral commission building attack left four dead. (Via NBC)
And the increased violence is all part of the Taliban's campaign to disrupt Afghanistan's presidential elections, which will be held April 5. Voice of America notes the Taliban has denounced the election as an American conspiracy, and called on its members to "use all force" to oppose the process.
An MSNBC correspondent says the attacks represent a show of strength from the Taliban. "It is gaining strength, it is carrying out bolder and bolder attacks right in the Afghan capital, which is generally considered the most secure part of the country."
But the secretary general of Afghanistan's electoral commission told Al Jazeera the Taliban's attacks will not scare the country away from the ballot box.
"The Afghan people are committed, as well as our civil societies are committed, the media's committed, and all parties and candidates are committed to make this election successful."
Afghanistan's current president, Hamid Karzai, ends his ten-year term as president this year. April's vote will mark the first time political power is transferred peacefully in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.