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Monday, 16 April 2012 - 8:30
Taliban strike across Afghanistan in 'spring offensive'
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Fighting is continuing in Kabul where militants have staged a wave of co-ordinated gun and rocket attacks.

Foreign embassies, NATO's HQ and the Afghan parliament were hit in the first major attack on Kabul in more than six months.

The attackers also struck in other provinces while the Taliban said it was the start of a "spring offensive”.

Two Afghan security force members and 17 militants were reportedly killed.

A further 17 Afghan police officers and nine civilians were injured, the Afghan interior ministry said.

Among yesterday's targets was the British embassy and a house used by British diplomats, but no staff were hurt.

Reports of explosions and gunfire in Kabul continued to come in 12 hours after the attacks began.

Insurgents still holding out in the city could be heard shouting "We will fight to death”.

They are said to be fending off Afghan security forces with hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades in the diplomatic quarter.

The attackers focused their assault on Western embassies in the central diplomatic area and around parliament but also attacked international troops in the east of the city.

The list also included the ruined Darul Aman palace outside the capital.

Some damage was reported to the embassies of Germany and Japan but Russia denied reports that its mission had been hit "despite the close proximity of the fighting".

Afghan security forces captured two suicide bombers alive before they were able to reach their intended targets, according to Isaf.

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