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Series of Explosions Rock Kabul

A series of explosions rocked an area near a hotel in the heart of the Afghan capital Friday. Witnesses said suicide bombers were to blame and that gunmen opened fire at the site. Two police were killed and one injured, according to authorities.

Abdul Ghafor Sayedzada, a top investigator for the Kabul police, confirmed the blasts, which woke up residents near the Kabul City Center, a nine-story shopping area that includes the Safi Landmark Hotel.

Najibullah, a 25-year-old hotel worker, said he ran out of the hotel in his underwear when he heard the first explosion. He said he saw two suicide bombers on the site.

"I saw foreigners were crying and shouting," said Najibullah, whose face and hands were covered in blood. "It was a very bad situation inside. God helped me; otherwise I would be dead. I saw one suicide bomber blowing himself up on the first floor of the hotel."

There was no official confirmation about the target of the explosions, but an official from the Interior Ministry said one suicide bomber detonated an explosive near the shopping area. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an investigation was still under way, said more than one suicide bomber might have been involved.

The blasts occurred on Friday, the first day of the Afghan weekend when fewer people are on the streets.

A building was on fire in front of the four-star hotel, which is close to most government offices. A reporter for The Associated Press said gunmen opened fire at the site. Shattered glass covered the streets. A large plume of black smoke was seen rising from the area. Afghan police, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, moved in taking cover in the doorways of shops.

It was the first attack in the Afghan capital since Jan. 18, when teams of suicide bombers and gunmen targeted government buildings, leaving 12 dead, including seven attackers.

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