The New Zealand Embassy was among the sites hit in a series of attacks in Afghanistan.

Taliban insurgents yesterday launched violent attacks on several locations across the country's capital, Kabul, as well as in three eastern cities, firing grenades and automatic weapons in what has been described as one of the most serious assaults in years.

A guard tower at the British embassy compound, which also houses New Zealand's embassy, was hit by two rockets and remained locked down this afternoon.

Prime Minister John Key, who is in Indonesia, told reporters that the two New Zealanders attached to the embassy had not been involved in the incident and were safe.


Meanwhile, a spokesman for the New Zealand Defence Force confirmed that Afghanistan-based personnel were all safe and accounted for following the attacks.

At least 17 insurgents, including suicide bombers, have been left dead in the attacks, which began at around 1.15pm local time (8.45pm NZT).

The United States, German, Russian and Japanese embassies were among the other sites attacked in the diplomatic enclave in the city, along with Nato bases and Parliament.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility, with a spokesman saying the violence was a retaliation for the burnings of copies of the Koran at a United States base in February and last month's killing of 17 villagers by a US sergeant.