The brazen attack came on the same day that Gen. David Petraeus landed in the Afghan capital to take command of U.S. and international forces fighting the nearly 9-year-old war. Petraeus arrived from Brussels where he sought to reassure allies that the war against the Taliban was on track despite rising casualties and problems regaining control over key parts of the country.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which began about 3:30 a.m. in Kunduz when a suicide car bomber blew a hole in the wall around a building used by Development Alternatives Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based global consulting company on contract with the United States Agency for International Aid, or USAID. The company is working on governance and community development in the area.
At least five other attackers then ran inside the building, killing or wounding security guards and others inside before dying in a gunbattle with Afghan security forces who raced to the scene. Afghan authorities said the five were all wearing explosive vests.