'Huge' explosions and gunfire outside Afghan parliament

A Taliban suicide bomber and six gunmen attacked the Afghan parliament on Monday, wounding around 25 people and sending a plume of black smoke across Kabul, as a second district in two days fell to the Islamist group in the north. 

The attack on the symbolic centre of power, one of the most brazen in years, along with a series of Taliban gains elsewhere, raise questions about the Nato-trained Afghan security forces' ability to cope.

Afghan Police secure the scene of an attack by Taliban militants (EPA)

"A suicide bomber blew himself up just outside the parliament building and several fighters took positions in a building close to parliament," said Ebadullah Karimi, spokesman for Kabul police.

Afghan security officials said the attackers were unable to enter the parliament itself and two gunmen were reportedly killed on sight.