Four terrorists, armed with rocket-propelled grenades, who went on a shooting rampage in Kabul International Airport have been killed after four hours of battle with police forces.
The attack on the Afghan capital on Thursday has been called the most audacious assault on the facility, used by both civilians and the military.
The attack lasted for about four hours after four unidentified militants – armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades – started opening fire indiscriminately at the airport from the roof of a building located just to its north.
"Four terrorists were killed by police special forces. The area is being clear now, there are no casualties to our forces," Reuters quoted Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi as saying.
The airport, which has a huge presence of soldiers and police, guard towers and several lines of security check posts, is home to a major operational base for NATO-led forces that has been fighting Taliban militants and other insurgents for more than a decade.
The airport has a history of being attacked by militants by rockets, causing little damage; but point blank firing and attacks from the front of a heavily guarded facility is a rare occurrence.
The attack, for which no one has claimed responsibilities yet, is reported to be similar in nature to last year's assault on the airport which saw seven Taliban insurgents including suicide bomber, attacking inside a partially constructed building nearby.
A Kabul airport official told Reuters that all flights due to arrive at the airport had been diverted to other cities. In situations such as these, passenger planes are immediately diverted towards other Afghan cities. According to reports, planes were seen circling above Kabul as the attack unfolded.
"Due to the closeness of the attack to the runway, Kabul airport is now closed to all flight," the official said.
The attack comes at a confusing time for Afghanistan as votes from the second round of presidential election, that is disputed, are to be recounted.