AT least one policeman was killed when Taliban militants detonated a car bomb at the gates of the Kabul traffic police headquarters and stormed the compound, starting a six-hour gun battle with security forces, authorities said.

The raid began just before dawn when a suicide bomber blew up his car at the gate of the traffic police department building, police said. They added that two or three attackers "armed with suicide vests and heavy and light weapons entered the compound".

At least two of the attackers were killed and one police officer died. At least 10 people were hurt – six civilians and four members of the security services.

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A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack and said the target of the insurgents was a police training facility "run by foreign military forces".

It was the second insurgent attack in Kabul in five days. Last Wednesday, six suicide bombers attacked the gates of the Afghan intelligence agency, killing one guard and wounding dozens.

It came as the Afghan government pushed to get the Taliban to the negotiating table and as President Hamid Karzai and the US negotiate for a quicker pullout of American forces.