Gunfire and explosions ripped through Kabul early this morning after Taliban gunmen, some strapped with suicide bombs, launched a commando-style assault on government buildings. “It was the worst attack on the city in nearly a year. Gunfire and loud explosions could be heard across the capital and a huge column of smoke was pouring out of a shopping center that was at the heart of the attacks. By mid-day, the main attack on the presidential palace and ministries in the center of town seemed to have been repelled, with fighters now holed up inside the shopping center that was on fire and surrounded by Afghan police and security officials. While the gun battle there was underway, a suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle outside another shopping center nearby killing several police and security officials, a security source said. Another blast was later reported near a cinema several hundred meters (yards) away.”