In a sophisticated and rare attack in Kabul, Taliban insurgents launched a coordinated strike near the NATO headquarters and the U.S. Embassy Tuesday afternoon, security officials said.

A large group of gunmen were firing from positions in a tall office building under construction near the embassy. Large explosions and gunfire were heard throughout the Wazir Akbar Khan area, which is home to many embassies, the Associated Press quoted police official Mohammed Zahir as saying.

The AP report also quoted police as saying that insurgents were firing rockets at the U.S. Embassy.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack through text messages to reporters.

There were reports of the involvement of suicide bombers in the strike. The BBC said that initial reports suggested at least four suicide bombers had been involved, with one detonating a suicide vest in a taxi.

Police cordoned off the area and stared evacuating civilians as the battle raged.

Two Afghan civilians were killed and around 100 others were injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden truck outside a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday.