Taliban militants wearing suicide vests stormed a guest house used by UN staff in the heart of the Afghan capital early Wednesday, killing 12 people - including six UN staff - in the biggest in a series of attacks intended to undermine next month's presidential runoff election.
One of the six UN dead was an American, the US Embassy said. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the early morning assaults, which also included rocket attacks at the presidential palace and the city's main luxury hotel.
One rocket struck the "outer limit" of the presidential palace but caused no casualties, presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said. Another slammed into the grounds of the Serena Hotel, which is favored by many foreigners.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack as "an inhuman act" and called on the army and police to strengthen security around all international institutions.
The chief of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said the attack "will not deter the UN from continuing all its work" in Afghanistan.