The Taliban launched Tuesday an attack on the presidential palace in Kabul that killed three guards.

The attack began at 6:30 a.m. when four suicide bombers using fake IDs tried to get into the compound that holds the palace and the Defense Ministry.

President Hamid Karzai was in the building and was due to offer a press conference at 9:00 a.m., according to Afghan media.

"The Taliban were identified by security forces before they could enter the palace," police spokesman Dawun Amin told Efe.

"One of the suicide bombers detonated his explosives, killing three security guards and wounding another," Amin said.

Another three insurgnets opened fire on security forces, sparking a 90-minute battle that ended with the death of the Taliban.

In a communique, the insurgents said the attack targeted the presidential palace, the Defense Ministry and the Ariana Hotel, the latter because of the alleged presence of CIA personnel.

The attack coincided with the visit to Kabul of the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins.

The opening of an office of the insurgency in Qatar on June 18 to begin negotiations with Kabul and Washington, in hopes of finding a solution of the nearly 12-year-long conflict, has not diminished hostilities either by the Taliban or by NATO troops.

The war has, in fact, entered one of its bloodiest phases since it began almost 12 years ago.

Tuesday saw another insurgent attack in the southern province of Kandahar, where 11 members of a family lost their lives in the explosion of a roadside bomb. EFE