Reports say four insurgents and three security guards died during an attack Tuesday by the Taliban near the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The BBC says the target appeared to be the nearby Ariana Hotel, which is known to house a CIA office. President Hamid Karzai was in the palace at the time of the attack. Kabul police chief Ayub Salangi said the attack was brought to an end just under two hours after shots were first fired.

The attack is the latest in a string of offenses in recent months. A suicide bomber targeted an Afghan politician June 18, hours before NATO handed responsibility for security to the Afghan forces.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

BBC:

The attack near the presidential palace, in the central district of Shash Darak, began at about 06:30 local time (02:00 GMT). The militants initially targeted the palace’s eastern gate – a few hundred metres from the actual building – where dozens of journalists had gathered for a news conference with Mr Karzai scheduled for 09:00.

… Four attackers wearing uniform and carrying fake ID cards began the attack, with one blowing himself up, a defence ministry spokesman told the BBC. They were eventually killed by private security forces attached to the hotel.

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