Multiple explosions and gunfire have been reported in central Kabul, close to the presidential palace at about 06:30am local time Tuesday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault shortly thereafter.
A Reuters reporter who was at the palace to cover a presser by president Karzai along with some 20 other journalists says heavy gunfire is being heard, and smoke from an explosion has blanketed the area.
According to Reuters, it was not immediately clear whether Karzai was in the compound at the time. That area of the city is the site of several important organizations, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, as well as the headquarters for the CIA and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
The American Embassy in Kabul was reportedly placed on lockdown, with ISAF confirming a lockdown over its Twitter feed; other facilities in the area are said to be under lockdown as well. According to the BBC, SMS messages were sent on behalf of the Taliban stating that targets were the presidential palace, the Ministry of Defense, as well as the Ariana Hotel, which is popular with international visitors. The Taliban has also indicated that several suicide bombers were involved in the attack.
The CIA building in central Kabul was reported to be on fire, according to 1TV News, a local news broadcaster.