Kabul airport hit with rocket fire

Afghan policemen arrive at site of attack near international airport in Kabul July 17, 2014


KABUL, Afghanistan -- Gunmen used rockets to attack the Kabul International Airport in the Afghan capital Thursday, Afghan officials said.

The gunmen occupied a building under construction some 800 yards north of the airport and used it as a base to fire rockets and gunfire toward the airport and at NATO coalition jet fighters flying over Kabul, the officials said.

Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Ayub Salangi told CBS News six attackers were involved and all were killed. He said five died in a gunfight with Afghan security forces who surrounded them and the sixth set off a device in a car, clearing the way for the others as the attack began.

Salangi said no civilian or security forces were killed or wounded.

Kabul police chief Gen Zahir Zahir told CBS News several rockets hit the airport but no planes were damaged. The attack started at dawn and lasted for 5 hours.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in a phone call with CBS News, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi told CBS News the attackers weren't Afghan -- they were speaking Urdu.

Besides civilian traffic, the airport is used as a base for NATO-led forces that have been fighting for more than a decade against Taliban and others. Rocket attacks near the airport are not rare, but are not usually this close.

As the fighting was going on, alarms sounded at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, as they usually do when there is an attack in the city. ISAF jet fighters were also patrolling over the city.

The predawn attack came during a tense time in Afghanistan, as a recount is underway from the second round of a disputed presidential election.

The attack also comes after a suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 89 people in the deadliest insurgent attack on civilians since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.