Nato headquarters and US embassy under attack in Kabul
Nato's headquarters and the US embassy have come under attack in the centre of Kabul in what appears to be a coordinated attack across the Afghan capital.
Blasts and gunfire echoed through the city, as the Taliban said several attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests were targeting government buildings near the embassy district.
At least six loud explosions were interspersed with gunfire around the middle of the day. Television pictures from near the attack showed a burned out minivan, a bicycle lying in the middle of the street and people running away.
Police and other security officials blocked roads around the US embassy and other diplomatic missions, and said the attack had happened at a nearby square.
"There are several armed attackers in Abdul Haq Square," said Mohammad Zahir, head of Kabul's Crime Investigation Unit.
Several Taliban attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47s and suicide vests have taken up positions in Kabul, near the embassy district, to attack government buildings, a spokesman for the insurgents said."The primary targets of the attackers are the intelligence agency building and a ministry," Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by phone.
He said he could not comment on how many attackers there were while the operation was going on.
Western military sources also said that Nato's International Security Assistance Force headquarters was under attack.
The attack in Kabul follows a huge truck bomb at a Nato base in central Afghanistan in which four Afghan civilians were killed and 77 US troops wounded, on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 2001 attacks.
Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban government in late 2001, with high levels of foreign troop deaths and record civilian casualties.