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Kabul Taliban battle leaves 27 dead

A total of 27 people died in the Taliban onslaught in Kabul, Nato has revealed.

Among the victims were Afghan police, civilians and insurgents.

The 20-hour assault in the heart of the Afghan capital ended today.

Nato commander General John Allen said of the dead, 11 were Afghan civilians, with more than half of them children. Five Afghan police officers were also killed.

He said that 11 insurgents also died in the battle, seven of them in the clearing operation inside the building where they were holed up near the US embassy.

Four other attackers were suicide bombers.

The Afghan Interior Ministry announced that the final holdouts in the 12-storey concrete building had been killed and police officers could be seen clapping their hands in celebration on the roof.

But the coordinated strikes raised fresh doubts about the Afghans' ability to secure their nation as foreign troops begin to withdraw. Afghan forces have nominally been in control of security in the capital since 2008, but still depend heavily on foreign forces to help protect the city and assist when it comes under attack.

And spectacular attacks in the heavily guarded capital have now become more common. This week's strike was the third deadly attack in Kabul since late June.

No Nato or US Embassy employees were hurt in the latest attack, although US Ambassador Ryan Crocker said six or seven rockets had hit inside the embassy compound. Four Afghans were wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade hit one of the embassy buildings.

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