KABUL, Afghanistan -- Insurgent gunmen and suicide bombers struck the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other locations in Kabul on Tuesday in coordinated attacks that raised fresh uncertainty over the ability of Afghan forces to assume security from departing U.S.-led international forces.
No U.S. or Western officials or soldiers were reported killed or injured during the violence, which saw insurgents raining rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire into the fortress-like U.S. mission, the adjacent NATO compound and an Afghan intelligence facility from a nearby half-finished high-rise building.
At least three Afghan police and four civilians were killed, and nine police and eight civilians were injured, according to an Interior Ministry statement.
The wounded civilians included a young girl waiting for a visa inside the embassy compound.
It was the second major insurgent operation in four days and came two days after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes in the U.S., which were plotted in Afghanistan and triggered the U.S. invasion.
On Saturday, 77 American soldiers were injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden truck outside a U.S. base in Wardak province, about 40 miles from Kabul.
Video footage posted on the Internet by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force showed Macedonian troops, who provide security for the NATO headquarters, and U.S. soldiers loosing intense gunfire at the insurgents in the multistory building from atop stacks of shipping containers.
At one point, a U.S. soldier warns of an incoming rocket-propelled grenade, shouting, "RPG, get down!"
The shooting slackened around midnight, and Afghans employed by the mission were allowed to go home.
"Our soldiers are moving slowly (through the building) and clearing the way of possible explosives," said Mohammad Zahir, the head of the Kabul police's crime and investigation department.
Obama administration officials and U.S. military commanders have claimed significant progress in containing the Taliban-led insurgency as a result of a "surge" last year of 30,000 additional American troops, a major expansion in Afghan security forces and intensified "night raids" by special operations forces.
Tuesday's attacks in Kabul's high-security diplomatic enclave showed that Taliban-led insurgents still can launch complex guerrilla-style strikes.