UPDATE No. 22 Wednesday: The standoff lasted roughly 20 hour, but Afghan police finally killed the last two gunmen Wednesday.
The latest body count: 11 civilians, four Afghan police officers and six insurgents, according to NATO.
U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said about six or seven rockets had hit inside the embassy perimeter during the first few hours of the attack Tuesday. But at that range Crocker said they had not posed a serious threat. "They were firing from at least 800 meters away and with an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] that's harassment. That's not an attack," he said in an interview transcript handed out to reporters in Kabul, Reuters reports.
UPDATE No. 21 Tuesday 5:27 p.m.: Gunfire continued overnight Tuesday in Kabul, as at least one Taliban-affiliated militant remained holed up on a top floor of a high-rise near the U.S. embassy, the Guardian reports.
Still, the fighting appears to have mostly come to an end after the hours-long attacks that kept much of the city on lock-down during the afternoon and evening.
Afghan intelligence officers were already going through the lower floors of the building late Tuesday, gathering evidence about the way the attack was carried out, the BBC reports.
The exact death toll from the handful of coordinated attacks around the city still remains somewhat unclear, with several media reports conflicting with the reports from Afghan officials in Kabul. Reuters reports that there have been nine casualties; Kabul police, meanwhile, put the number at six.
UPDATE No. 20 at 3:47 p.m.: Looks like Afghan authorities spoke too soon when they expressed hope that the fighting had ended. The BBC reports that police are still exchanging fire with at least one gunman who is still holed up in the unfinished high-rise.
The Guardian, likewise, reports that "gunfire and small explosions" are still being heard by reporters in Kabul.
UPDATE No. 19 at 2:22 p.m.: Reuters reports that the death toll now sits at nine, with another 23 people wounded in the coordinated attacks in Kabul on Tuesday.
The news agency also has this pull quote from Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security: "The scale of today's attack is unprecedented. ... There was almost certainly either a break-down in security among the Afghans with responsibility for Kabul or an intelligence failure."
UPDATE No. 18 at 1:22 p.m.: At least six people were killed including four policemen, according to Kabul police and the Ministry of the Interior. Another 19 people were wounded.
There is still no official word on the number of insurgents that were killed during the multi-pronged attack that targeted the U.S. embassy, a NATO headquarters and other parts of Kabul.
The New York Times reports that it appeared as though at least seven militants had entered the city, five of which had taken positions in a 14-story building that was under construction and had "clear sight lines to the diplomatic district, the United States Embassy compound and NATO headquarters."
Some more from the Times on NATO's (relatively small) role in the response:
The Afghan security forces handled the response to the attack with little visible support from NATO troops, other than some surveillance by about two hours into the attack when Blackhawk helicopters circled the building where the assailants were holed up, but they did not fire. Soon after Afghan forces flew their own attack helicopters to the building, strafing it and appearing to hit their target consistently. Late into the night, Afghan forces were still clearing it, floor by floor, concerned that a bomber or two might still be hiding there, said General Mohammed Ayoub Salangi, police chief of Kabul Province.
UPDATE No. 17 at 1:15 p.m.: Kabul police say that the attack is now over and all the militants are dead, the Guardian reports. The high-rise building from which most the attack was launched is currently being checked for booby traps.
We'll bring you an update on the death toll when there is one.
UPDATE No. 16 at 12:24 p.m.: Here's the statement from the U.S. embassy:
"The US Embassy confirms an attack occurred today in the area of the US embassy, including RPG and small arms fire. Four Afghans were injured in the attack on the embassy compound, none with life threatening injuries. They included three Afghan visa applicants and one local contract guard.
"Our thoughts are with these individuals and the other victims of the terrorist attacks that happened today in Kabul. We appreciate the response of the Afghan National Security Forces whose operations stopped the attack on the embassy compound."
UPDATE No. 15 at 12:10 p.m.: Gunfire can still be heard in Kabul and at least one of the militants is believed to still be alive and fighting, the Guardian reports.
UPDATE No. 14 at 11:55 a.m.: For reference, CNN has a timeline up on other attacks on U.S. embassies over the years. You can check it out here.
UPDATE No. 13 at 11:42 a.m.: Another note about the civilian death toll: While the Afghan Health Ministry has told reporters that only one civilian has been killed, that conflicts with what Kabul police said earlier when they confirmed two civilian casualties.
We probably won't get an official final tally for some time, but the number of civilian deaths appears to be lower than originally feared, which is obviously good news. Meanwhile, all U.S. personnel appear to be safe at this time. The heaviest casualties have reportedly been suffered by Afghan police, which has lost at least three officers, and the insurgents (although no official count for them yet).
UPDATE No. 12 at 11:32 a.m.: Hillary Clinton said that there have been no U.S. casualties, adding that the nation "will take all necessary steps" to secure the area and keep embassy personnel safe. She also said that the "dedicated, brave men and women" from the U.S. who work in Afghanistan will not be intimidated by this "cowardly act."
UPDATE No. 11 at 11:15 a.m.: CNN reports that Afghan health officials say that they can only confrim one civilian was killed in Tuesday's attacks in Kabul. Another 18 were wounded, but none seriously.
UPDATE No. 10 at 10:55 a.m.: A little more on the Taliban-affiliated group thought to be responsible for the attacks, from a study released earlier this summer by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center (via the Guardian):
"The Haqqani network has been more important to the development and sustainment of al-Qaida and the global jihad than any other single actor or group."
UPDATE No. 9 at 10:50 a.m.: Kabul police say that the Haqqani network is responsible for the attacks, according to a BBC reporter on the ground.
The Guardian reports that the network is affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaida and has been blamed for most recent major attacks in the city. "It has been described as the glue that binds together the militant groups operating in Pakistan's tribal North Waziristan," the paper reports.
UPDATE No. 8 at 10:42 a.m.: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has released a statement condemming the attacks.
"The attacks can not stop the process (transition) from taking place and can not affect, but rather embolden our people's determination in taking the responsibility for their country's own affairs," he said in a statement.
UPDATE No. 7 at 10:37 a.m.: Mustafa Kazemi, a journalist for the German newswire Deutsche Presse-Agentur, reports that the insurgents were/are armed with "Kalashnikov rifles, Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers, RPD Machine Guns, Suicide vests, and 82mm Recoilless weapon."
UPDATE No. 6 at 10:28 a.m.: The AP explains: Tuesday's ongoing assault is "the third major attack in Kabul since late June, casting fresh doubts on the ability of Afghans to secure their own country as the U.S. and other foreign troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014."
UPDATE No. 5 at 10:20 a.m.: Afghan police say that at least three officers have been killed in the outburst of violence in the nation's capital today, CNN reports.
The exact death toll is unclear. Earlier Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that at least 8 people had been confirmed dead, but it was not clear in what part of the city those casualties occurred, and whether that total included the police officers. More recent reports by multiple media outlets have not used that figure.
The Associated Press reports that the both the American embassy and NATO say that none of their staff were wounded or killed in the coordinated attacks. At least two insurgents have been killed by police.
UPDATE No. 4 at 10:12 a.m.: Reuters explains: "The Taliban have launched a high-profile attacks on multiple targets in the capital in the past, but this is the first time they have organized simultaneous assaults on such separate parts of the city."
UPDATE No. 3 at 10:05 a.m.: Mustafa Kazemi, a journalist for the German newswire Deutsche Presse-Agentur, is reporting via Twitter that he and other reporters in Afghanistan can still hear gunshots and helicopters overhead. He also says that the Taliban continues to send text messages with updates on the attacks.
UPDATE No. 2 at 9:45 a.m.: It appears as though the assailants launched at least part of the attack from a tall building that provides a bird's-eye view of the heavily-guarded U.S. compound. The Washington Post reports that the militants also targeted the upscale district of Wazir Akbar Khan, which is home to several other embassies and NGOs.
UPDATE No. 1 at 9:40 a.m.: The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force says that a suicide attacker was identified and killed by Afghan police before "reaching a target near Kabul airport," CNN reports.
POST at 9:35 a.m.: Suicide bombers and gunmen launched a coordinated assault against the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan and the nearby NATO headquarters on Tuesday, with early reports suggesting that the attacks killed at least eight people.
As of the latest update, Afghan officials say that at least two of the insurgents remain alive and were still “resisting,” CNN reports.
“We don’t know how many suicide bombers are in the building,” said Col. Abdul Zahir, of the criminal investigative division of the Kabul police. “They’re shooting at the embassy. We’re still in fighting position. We can’t say anything.”
The Taliban sent a text message to reporters claiming responsibility for the attacks, but the claim has not yet been verified.
An American official reports that there were no casualties at he embassy, although Afghan authorities say that at least eight people have been confirmed killed and another 10 wounded in the attacks. That figure was expected to rise, the Washington Post reports.
The New York Times sets the scene:
At least 10 explosions — apparently from rockets launched by militants — and waves of automatic weapons fire were reported amid the drone of sirens and English-language warnings telling Americans inside the embassy to take cover.