Taliban gunmen attacked Afghanistan's presidential palace and surrounding buildings, including the CIA's Afghan headquarters, early on Tuesday (June 25), with explosions and gunfire shaking the city centre.

The attack began soon after 6.30 a.m. (0200 GMT), when at least one man opened fire with an automatic rifle at a gate to the palace in the central Shash Darak district.

President Hamid Karzai's whereabouts were not immediately known, though he was due to attend a press event at the palace after 9 a.m. (0430 GMT) which was subsequently cancelled.

Reporters had been gathering at the palace when the attack began and dived for cover as government forces returned fire. Heavy explosions resounded and the gunfire intensified.

The assault was launched a day after the U.S. envoy appointed to help the Afghan government and the Taliban pursue peace, James Dobbins, arrived in Kabul and met Karzai. He had been due to hold a press roundtable with Afghan reporters.

He told reporters on Monday (June 24) that Washington was still trying to determine if the Taliban were ready for talks.

Presented by Adam Justice

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