The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack on the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul. A series of explosions and gunfire were heard outside the heavily guarded building.
Militants targeted the presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday morning, with a succession of blasts heard along with the sound of shooting.
Reporters who had gathered at the palace for an event involving President Hamid Karzai said the attack began soon after 6.30 a.m. local time, close to one of the gates to the compound.
Local radio station Arman reported that up to 16 blasts had been heard, with smoke rising from close to the palace.
"There is an ongoing militant attack in central Kabul," Kabul police CID chief Mohammad Zahir told the AFP news agency after the attack began. Armed men were reported to be clashing with the bodyguards of President Karzai and US troops, the BBC reported.
US embassy sounds alarm
The US embassy sounded its alarm drill, while the US-led NATO military coalition highlighted the incident on its Twitter account. "Small arms fire and multiple explosions reported in Kabul. Situation developing," read the tweet.
Some of the blasts were reported to have been outside the coalition headquarters in the city, with explosions also reported to have been close to CIA offices.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident, claiming it had been a suicide attack.
"Today at 6.30 a.m. a number of martyrs attacked the presidential palace, defense ministry and the Ariana Hotel," said a text message from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
rc,rg/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)