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Raw: Militants Attack Afghan Election Office

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Afghan police killed five militants in a four hour stand-off on Saturday, after the Taliban linked men attacked Kabul's election commission headquarters earlier in the morning. (March 29)

SHOTLIST:

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Kabul, Afghanistan - March 29, 2014

1. Wide of Afghan security forces (UPSOUND) gunfire

2. Close of policemen running

3. Wide of smoke rising from behind the UN compound (UPSOUND) explosion

4. Smoke rising in the air

5. Wide of security forces (UPSOUND) explosion

6. Various of policemen

7. Pan up of policeman

8. Wide of smoke rising from compound believed to be IEC (Independent Election Commission) compound

9. Mid of smoke rising in the air

STORYLINE:

Taliban militants attacked the main Afghan election commission's headquarters in Kabul on Saturday, firing on the compound with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns from a house outside its perimeter wall, according to police.

Dozens of employees and other people who had been inside the Independent Election Commission compound took cover in the basement, and no casualties were reported, but two warehouses were hit and set on fire, witnesses said.

Kabul airport, which is on the edge of the IEC compound, closed its runway because of possible dangers to planes as Afghan security forces surrounded the occupied house and traded gunfire with the attackers.

Saturday's assault was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks launched by the Islamic militant movement as it steps up a campaign of violence to disrupt presidential elections, which are due to be held in a week.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack but described what would have been a much more ambitious assault, claiming a suicide bomber and gunmen had stormed the IEC compound.

He said the IEC and election observers, including foreigners, were holding a meeting at the time of the attack.

The Taliban frequently exaggerate in their statements and a meeting could not immediately be confirmed, but an eyewitness also reported that the assault included a suicide attack.

The Kabul police chief said three or four attackers were holed up in a neighboring house that had been empty when they occupied it.

He said the house was about 800 metres (yards) away from the headquarters, which is inside a walled off compound guarded by a series of watch towers and checkpoints.

The police chief said his men were firing at the building from several directions and had the attackers contained.

A spokesman for the Independent Election Commission said security already had been increased around the compound because an attack had been widely expected, and all IEC staff members were safe.

He said the IEC leadership was away from the headquarters when the assault began.

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