Update 2:47 a.m. EDT: The Taliban attack on Tuesday in the Afghan capital Kabul appears to have been targeted at a CIA base believed to be in the Ariana Hotel, which is near the presidential palace, a BBC report said. President Hamid Karzai is reported to have been inside the palace during the attack, following which all insurgents were killed in an exchange with Afghan police, the BBC reported.

Update 12:12 a.m. EDT: The Afghan police say all the attackers have been killed, the BBC reports.

Update 11:35 p.m. EDT: The Taliban is claiming responsibility for the attack, the BBC reports.

The militants initially targeted the palace's eastern gate, where dozens of journalists had gathered for a news conference with President Hamid Karzai.


Gunmen attacked the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul early Tuesday, with explosions and gunfire shaking the city center, witnesses said.

"There is an ongoing militant attack in central Kabul," Kabul police official Mohammad Zahir told AFP. 

A Reuters reporter at the palace said the attack began soon after 6.30 a.m. on the building's east gate. Reporters were gathering for a press event with President Hamid Karzai.

It was not immediately clear whether Karzai was inside the building at the time.

The BBC reported that the assailants were battling Karzai's bodyguards, as well as U.S. personnel from the nearby CIA station.

There have been a series of loud explosions, sending debris flying.

The attack comes only days after Karzai raised objections about U.S.-backed peace talks with the Taliban.

He said the High Peace Council, the government body set up to lead peace efforts, would not take part unless the process was "Afghan-led."