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Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Attacks send Kabul into panic

Ministry of justice attack in Kabul
People fled the attack on the ministry of justice
Eyewitnesses have been describing the chaos and panic that gripped Kabul as gunmen attacked government buildings in a co-ordinated assault.

Student Assadullah Jagdalak hid under a table inside the ministry of justice when he heard gunfire outside the building.

"Security guards started shooting and then the attackers responded by killing other security guards. One got inside the building and started shooting, one guy got upstairs," he said.

Mr Jagdalak said a number of people had been queuing in the hallway of the ministry as the attackers stormed the building.

I took two dead bodies and stopped a vehicle. I spoke with the driver and asked him to please take them to hospital
Abdul Shirzaad, shopkeeper

"Everybody was running, some were entering the washroom, others were running outside, it was a total disaster."

In another attack in the district two suicide bombers detonated explosives at an office responsible for prisons in the north of the capital.

Shopkeeper Abdul Shirzaad was on his way to the supermarket when he heard explosions and gunshots and saw black smoke rising.

After I heard the firing I could see from my window people running and the security guards everywhere
Salim Hayran,
ministry of education worker

As he got to the scene he said he found bodies strewn everywhere and started to help in a makeshift rescue operation.

"My brother and I took two dead bodies and stopped a vehicle. I spoke with the driver and asked him to please take them to hospital," he told the BBC.

"I was very scared and the police came and told us it was too dangerous to stay."

Locked in

Workers in a number of ministries in the area were locked into their offices by security forces for fear that other attackers were targeting government buildings.

Ministry of justice attack in Kabul
Afghan troops surrounded the ministry of justice

Ali Abdullah, who contacted the BBC, had been confined to his office in the finance ministry for many hours.

"I heard the gunfire very close by. We were in great fear because we didn't know what was going on next. We were told that suicide bombers were heading for the ministry of finance."

In other ministries, workers witnessed the violence from their windows.

Salim Hayran works at the education ministry.

"After I heard the firing I could see from my window people running and the security guards everywhere."

He told the BBC that a security guard who had shot dead one of the attackers came up to his office to print the picture he had taken of the gunman he had killed.

The panic quickly spread around the government districts of Kabul according to eyewitnesses.

Habib Totakhil had left the ministry of justice shortly before the attacks and described how staff and visitors fled the buildings around him as the gunfire began.

He says the security forces arrived quickly but people had been running to cars and surrounding buildings for safety.

Dead and wounded

Officials say more than 50 people were injured in the attack .

A relative of Sameer Rajabi was among the injured at the ministry of justice.

"I was 50m away from the attack," Sameer Rajabi told the BBC from a private hospital, "but my relative was injured and is now under the treatment of doctors.

"There are others injured here," he said.

From the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, bio-medical engineer Shaker Hamdard said that two bodies had been taken to the morgue and medical staff were attending to more injuries.

"When these incidents happen, the casualties are taken to hospitals all round. Some of them are here," he said.

Workers at some ministries say they are now being allowed to leave their offices and that a semblance of calm is being restored to Kabul.

But many say they fear future attacks targeting civil servants.

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