KABUL - Anti-government militants launched complex offensives on two police stations in Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday and so far seven people were confirmed dead and 17 injured, while clashes continue between militants and security forces in downtown Kabul.

According to police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai, two militants equipped with arms and suicide vests targeted a police station in Police District 13 in Dashti Barchi locality at 11:30 am local time. After hours of fighting, six people including two police personnel and two attackers were killed and nine others including two police personnel sustained injuries.

In a span of 20 minutes, another group of militants targeted a police station in Police District 10 in Shahri Now locality in downtown Kabul.

According to an official, one person was killed and eight others injured while operations are underway to eliminate the attacking militants.

Interior Minister Wais Barmak in talks with reporters confirmed that standoff is underway and Unit of Special Forces have been trying to eliminate the attackers and bring the situation under control.

The health ministry said seven people were killed and 17 wounded. Police were among the casualties, including two of the dead, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told Tolo News.

The Islamic State outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack on the police station in Police District 13. Clashes between security forces and militants are continuing in Police District 10 and the Taliban group has reportedly claimed responsibility. But Afghanistan’s intelligence agency blamed the Taliban’s Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Taiba for both incidents.

After an easing of attacks in Kabul in February, Taliban and IS militants have stepped up raids in the city in recent months.

IS claimed the first attack on a police station in a heavily Shiite-populated neighbourhood in the city’s west, which interior minister Wais Barmak said ended after roughly an hour.

Ariana TV footage showed a thick plume of black smoke rising into the sky while a photo posted on Twitter purportedly of the west Kabul police station showed a building on fire.

The second attack, claimed by the Taliban, took place in front of a police station in Shar-e-Naw neighbourhood in downtown Kabul.

“A suicide bomber detonated his vest at the entrance of the street and a car dropped four other attackers nearby,” Barmak said.

Four attackers fled to a nearby building and were killed after an hours-long search operation by security forces, police spokesman Hashmat Estanikzai told AFP.

A “clearance operation” is still under way, he added.

A travel agency that handles Indian visa applications is located on the same street as the Shar-e-Naw police station. The Indian embassy and some of its consulates in Afghanistan have previously been targeted by the Taliban. “There were about 300 people inside Shaheer travel agency. Had the police not stopped the attackers they would have caused a disaster,” Barmak said.

A police source told AFP the blast in the afternoon was caused by an attacker blowing himself up.

Pakistan condemned the attacks as “blatant terrorism targeting innocent civilians” in a statement from the country’s foreign affairs ministry.

The assaults happened just over a week after twin blasts in Kabul killed 25 people, including AFP chief photographer Shah Marai and eight other journalists. Those attacks were claimed by IS.

The Taliban recently launched their annual spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government.

Their Operation Al Khandaq will target US forces and “their intelligence agents” as well as their “internal supporters”, a Taliban statement said on April 25.

Barmak said the Taliban had taken control of two districts in the past 24 hours, one in the northern province of Baghlan and the other in the northwestern province of Faryab.