A Taliban attack on Afghanistan's national parliament in Kabul has ended with all seven militants dead. Whilst all MPs emerged unhurt, two civilians were killed, and at least thirty-one others were injured.

According to Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed, the attack was strategically organised to coincide with a parliamentary vote to confirm the new Defense Minister, Massoom Stanekzai, as a number of high level parliamentarians would be in attendance.

The Taliban used a large suicide car bomb to breach the gates, before attempting to storm the parliament building, with RPGs and automatic weapons.

The premises were evacuated, and the gunmen were forced to retreat into a building under construction, where police and security forces fought with them for almost an hour.

Since the departure of most US and NATO forces last year, Taliban attacks have increased across Afghanistan. The Taliban have already made substantial gains across the Helmand province, and have captured two districts within Kunduz province in recent days, stretching Afghan security forces. One Afghan MP claimed that security forces took too long to respond to the attack on parliament, raising questions about their ability to cope without American or NATO assistance.

However, this attack can also be seen as a sign of fragmentation within the Taliban, as some leaders have been open to reconciliation, and have been engaging in peaceful discussions with Afghan government officials in Qatar.

Monday's attack is the first by the Taliban since the start of Ramadan. The Taliban had previously denied government requests for a ceasefire during the Muslim holy month.

The attack has attracted widespread criticism. Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General's deputy special representative for Afghanistan, stated that, "the attack against parliament, for which the Taliban have claimed responsibility, is a clear and deliberate affront to democracy in Afghanistan".

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani, described the militants as "criminals", "who fail to obey the [country's] laws and Islam".

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