The Presidential Palace in the Afghan capital Kabul has been targeted in an early morning attack by the Taliban.
Police say all five insurgents along with two Afghan guards were killed in the assault for which the Taliban claimed responsibility. A 90-minute gunfight followed several explosions. The whereabouts of President Hamid Karzai at the time of the attack has not been disclosed. A palace official said he was safe.
“A Land Cruiser car using fake ID came to the gate. While the guards were asking them to show their ID, two to three people came out from the car and it exploded, The guards killed all the attackers,” explained Kabul police chief General Mohammad Ayoub Salangi.
The Foreign Ministry and a Central Intelligence Agency station were also targeted.
Reporters who had been gathering at the palace for a news conference took cover when the firing broke out.
US peace envoy James Dobbins had been due to brief Afghan journalists on his government’s progress to set up peace talks with the Taliban.
It was also reported that eight women and one child have been killed in a bomb explosion in the south of the country.