Source: BBC UK News
Militants are carrying out what they say are co-ordinated attacks on Kabul and other targets in Afghanistan.
A Taliban spokesman said fighters were attacking embassies in the diplomatic enclave, Nato's HQ and the parliament building in the west of the capital. Multiple blasts and gunfire have been heard across Kabul.
The Taliban spokesman said there were also attacks in Logar and Paktia provinces. There are also reports of suicide attacks in Jalalabad.
Nato said it had reports of attacks in seven locations in Kabul. The British embassy was one of the targets, with two rockets hitting a guard tower. A rocket-propelled grenade was also fired into a house used by British diplomats, witnesses told Reuters.
A medical source in Kabul told the Associated Press news agency five people had been wounded in the attacks, and at least two militants are reported dead in the city.
According to another unverified report, from Afghan broadcaster channel Shamshad TV, eight people were also wounded, and two militants killed, in an attack in the eastern city of Gardez, in Paktia.
At least seven large explosions were heard in central Kabul and gunfire erupted from various directions in the heavily barricaded diplomatic zone.
Bilal Sarwary Kabul
The Taliban have said they are behind the attacks. Last week they warned that a new offensive would start soon. The last major attack in Kabul was last September when insurgents attacked.
This is a large-scale attack, right in the heart of Kabul. Many questions remain unanswered. How did a large group of heavily armed insurgents, with a huge amount of weapons, manage to get inside Kabul and inside the central district of Wazir Akbar Khan?
In their defence, Afghan intelligence officials say they did have prior intelligence about attacks on several locations in Kabul, which helped prevent bloodshed.
But today's attacks have shattered the confidence of Afghans once more. The insurgents have once more shown that they can strike right in the heart of Kabul.
Residents were reportedly running for cover and sirens wailing in the Wazir Akbar Khan district.
Some explosions were also heard near the parliament building in western Kabul and police said it was under attack. A number of MPs joined the fight against the insurgents, shooting at them as they tried to storm parliament, Kandahar lawmaker Naeem Hameedzai Lalai told reporters. "I'm the representative of my people and I have to defend them," he said.
Rockets were reportedly fired at the Russian embassy and smoke was said to be billowing from the direction of the German embassy.
The US embassy confirmed there were attacks nearby. It said: "The embassy is currently in lockdown... all compound personnel are accounted for and safe."
Britain's Foreign Office said it was "in close contact with embassy staff".
AFP news agency reported that the newly built Kabul Star hotel was on fire.
Kabul resident Idris Ghairat, who lives near the hotel, told the BBC: "I can see the smoke rising. The fighting is around us and I have heard the blasts and gunfire. The security forces have taken position on top of all government buildings close to the hotel."
Another attack appeared to target a Nato base known as Camp Warehouse on the outskirts of the city, where Turkish and Greek Nato forces were trying to repel militants.
Where was the intelligence to prevent co-ordinated attacks?” Mirwais YasiniMP from province of Ningarhar
The BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says there are also reports of a suicide attack that has closed the centre of the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Police said suicide bombers had attacked the airport there.
Abdulhadi, who works for the World Food Programme in Jalalabad, told the BBC: "The US air base was under attack. We heard loud explosions and had to take cover in a bunker."
Militants also took over a government building in Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar province, police said, and a gun battle was under way.
In Gardez, capital of Paktia province, militants took over a building where university students were staying.
In the city of Kundoz, 15 suspected militants were arrested over an alleged plot to launch attacks, an official told BBC News.
Mirwais Yasini, an MP from the eastern province of Ningarhar, told BBC News: ''This shows the Taliban don't want peace.
"They don't want to negotiate. They are not serious. They want to continue the killing of innocent people. But these attacks also show a clear intelligence failure. Where was the intelligence to prevent co-ordinated attacks?''
There is normally a surge in the number of Taliban attacks at this time of year following a relative lull in winter, when militants find it more difficult to move around.