Suicide bomb attack hits Kabul after Barack Obama visit

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Media captionA car bomb was detonated before a number of insurgents entered the compound, as Bilal Sarwary reports

At least seven people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on a residential compound in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The attack hit an area of eastern Kabul where many Westerners live and was followed by hours of fighting between insurgents and security forces.

At least four of those killed were from a nearby school.

The Taliban have said they carried out the attack, which came shortly after US President Barack Obama left Kabul.

The attack began just after 06:00 (01:30 GMT), with a car bomb blowing a hole in the compound wall, the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says.

A number of insurgents then entered the area known as the Green Village - a compound of guesthouses used by foreign organisations and aid groups - with one suicide bomber barricading himself inside an unoccupied building.

There was intense fighting between the insurgents and security forces for nearly four hours. It ended when the last attacker detonated his suicide vest.

'Finish the job'

The area and the compound targeted in the attack had been the subject of numerous intelligence reports over the last year, with extra Afghan security forces being deployed in the last six months, the BBC understands.

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said security personnel had been the target, but that Afghan civilians had been the victims.

Gen Carsten Jacobson praised Afghan forces for "taking the lead in putting down another desperate attack by insurgents".

A witness told reporters at the scene that the attackers had been dressed in burkas.

"A vehicle stopped here and six individuals wearing burkas entered the alley carrying black bags in their hands," Abdul Manan told the Associated Press news agency.

"When they entered the alley, explosions happened, and I escaped from the area."

Mr Obama was in Kabul on an unannounced visit and addressed the US public live from Bagram military base north of the capital.

Speaking a year after Osama Bin Laden's death, he pledged to "finish the job" and end the Afghan war.

Mr Obama was in the country to sign an agreement on future Afghan-US ties with President Hamid Karzai, ahead of a Nato summit.

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