(AP) -- Taliban militants wearing explosives vests launched a brazen assault on the heart of Kabul on Monday, as suicide bombings and gunbattles near the presidential palace and other government buildings paralyzed the capital for hours.
Afghan police and NATO troops managed to restore security after at least three blasts and machine-gunfire that echoed across the mountain-rimmed city. Given what might have been, the casualty toll was relatively low: 12 killed including seven attackers.
Still, the attack was the most ambitious in Kabul in nearly a year and demonstrated the vulnerability of the Afghan capital despite extensive security throughout the city. The assault was also a clear sign the Taliban plan to escalate their fight as the U.S. and its allies ramp up a campaign to end the war.
The video below, captured by a news camera, shows a mini van packed with explosives as it blows apart after being stopped by police.
As the Brave New Foundation's Rethink Afghanistan project points out in this new video report, suicide terrorism of the kind that struck Kabul today was foreign to life in Afghanistan prior to the U.S. invasion.