Rather than bearded gunmen in turbans, photos posted on social media showed that the clean-shaven attackers wore military uniforms and Western-style haircuts, likely a tactic to help them avoid detection.

Afghan police on Wednesday repelled a brazen attack on the country’s interior ministry, one of the capital’s most heavily defended compounds, that ended with the eight assailants and a police officer being killed.

Rather than the Taliban, security officials blamed the attack on the Haqqani Network – a militant group with links to Al Qaeda and elements of Pakistan’s security establishment. The Taliban, which controls 14 per cent of Afghanistan, has carried out a series of deadly assaults on Kabul in recent months as the country prepares for elections in October.

Further underlining the numerous security threats facing Afghanistan, ISIS claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack via its Amaq news agency.

Just the day before the attack, intelligence-led security forces in a raid to intercept a vehicle found to be carrying explosives along with an unspecified number of gunmen on the airport road which is very close to interior ministry targeted Wednesday.

Afghan security forces struggled to maintain security in the capital this year. Staving off the attackers with the death of just one policeman could be considered a rare success.

Rather than bearded gunmen in turbans, photos posted on social media showed that the clean-shaven attackers wore military uniforms and Western-style haircuts, likely a tactic to help them avoid detection.

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