A series of explosions and gunfire was today heard outside the presidential palace in Kabul, one of the most heavily guarded areas in the Afghan capital. The Kabul police confirmed the militant attack which erupted at one of the gates of the complex began at about 6:30 am.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. In a text-message statement to reporters, the Taliban said, "We brought death to the enemy."
Reporters gathering for an event early on Tuesday with President Hamid Karzai counted at least a half dozen explosions outside the eastern gate of the palace. Small arms fire also could be heard.
Smoke rose from the eastern gate of the palace after the explosions and at least 45 minutes of on-and-off small arms fire.
"The attack occurred at the entrance that is near the ministry of defence," said a police officer. The area houses many official buildings including the US Embassy and the headquarters for the NATO-led coalition forces.
News Agency AFP quoted a source from the presidential palace as saying that the premises had not been breached.
The US embassy sounded its "duck and cover" alarm drill and the US-led NATO military coalition said on its Twitter account: "Small arms fire and multiple explosions reported in Kabul. Situation developing."