Gunmen and suicide bombers have struck multiple targets in the Afghan capital during morning rush hour, triggering fierce gun battles with police and killing five people, including a child.
At least 38 civilians and security forces were wounded.
Officials say seven suspected Taliban militants launched an assault on mostly government buildings in central Kabul, as well as the upscale Serena hotel. Security forces battled militants for a few hours inside a shopping center that was engulfed in flames.
A Taliban spokesman later took credit for the attack and claimed 20 militants participated. The New York Times newspaper quotes the spokesman as saying the assault demonstrates that the Taliban are not ready to negotiate peace.
Officials say that despite the multiple attacks, the militants failed to gain control of government buildings. Some three hours after the assault, President Hamid Karzai said the city was back under government control.
The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, who had left Kabul hours earlier for a visit to New Delhi, condemned the attacks as the work of "desperate" and "ruthless" people.
The assault occurred as new members of President Karzai's Cabinet were sworn in at the Presidential Palace. Parliament still has not approved 10 of his Cabinet nominees.