It is being described as the biggest attack in Kabul in the last 11 years as the Taliban easily penetrated one of the most secure parts of the country.
Fighting continued for almost 18 hours and defence officials say 36 fighters were killed and 18 captured in the capital Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.
Afghan security sources reveal that that for the past five days the attackers had smuggled explosives and weapons into this site hidden in cement bags and paint pots.
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, called the attacks an intelligence failure both for his government and NATO forces.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports from Kabul.