Aghanistan's main international airport has come under fierce attack from the Taliban, after militants armed with guns and rockets launched an early-morning raid in the capital Kabul.

Security officials said seven insurgents were killed in the exchange of fire at Kabul Airport, after two militants blew themselves up.

The Afghan Taliban has formally claimed responsibility for the attack, its spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claiming that "an explosives-packed vehicle was detonated, destroying the checkpoint and letting a large number of fighters reach their target. Many security guards and foreign soldiers have been killed."

Mujahid also claimed the attack was part of a "spring offensive" by the Taliban.

However Afghan security forces have not reported any significant damage on their side, apparently refuting Mujahid's claims.

Under control

Afghanistan's interior ministry reports that the militants launched the attack from inside a nearby building, which is currently under construction.

Following the attack, security personnel launched a clear-up operation, and the situation is now believed to be under control.

Outbound flights from the airport were cancelled while incoming flights were diverted to other locations, and roads leading to the airport were cordoned off.

Kabul Airport houses a big Nato-led military base, and the attack is seen as an attempt by Taliban militants to show off their strength.

Although US helicopters were swirling over the area, the mop-up up operation was entirely carried out by the Afghan forces, which face a huge challenge given US troops are scheduled to leave the country by the end of 2014.

"We are aware of the attack near the airport, but don't have any additional operational information at this time. Once we have more information, we will release it," said the ISAF Joint Command in a statement.

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an attack in KabulReuters
A member of the Afghan security forces holds his weapon at the site of an attack in KabulReuters
A member of the Afghan security forces walks towards the site of an attack in KabulReuters
Afghan police stand guard at the site of an attack as a NATO helicopter flies overhead in KabulReuters
Afghans gather near the site of an attack in KabuReuters
Smoke billows from the site of an attack at the main international airport in KabulReuters
Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an attack in KabulReuters
Afghan security forces take their position at the site of an attack in KabulReuters
Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an attack in KabulReuters
Afghan police arrive at the site of an attack in KabulReuters