News ID: 208459
Published: 0628 GMT January 20, 2018

Taliban attack on Afghan hotel ends after 13 hours, 18 dead (Video)

Taliban attack on Afghan hotel ends after 13 hours, 18 dead (Video)
AP

A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital killed at least 18 people, including 14 foreigners, and pinned security forces down for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed on Sunday, with the casualty toll expected to rise.

The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the 18 killed included 14 foreigners and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference, AP reported.

“11 of the 14 foreigners killed were employees of KamAir, a private Afghan airline,” said Danish. KamAir also put out an announcement saying some of their flights were disrupted because of the attack.

Ukraine says one of its citizens was killed in the attack. 

Ten other people, including six from the security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.

The Taliban claimed the attack, which began around 9 p.m. Saturday, saying five gunmen armed with suicide vests targeted foreigners and Afghan officials. 

Ten other people, including six from the security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.

The attack unfolded almost six years after Taliban militants launched a similar assault on the property, which is not part of the InterContinental chain of worldwide hotels.

The Interior Ministry said a private firm assumed responsibility for securing the hotel around three weeks ago. 

During a press conference, Danish said that early investigations show that six insurgents entered the hotel from the northern side and stormed its kitchen. Two attackers were killed by Special Forces on the 6th floor of the hotel.

Mumtaz Ahmad, a provincial telecommunication employee for Helmand province who survivor the attack said “I was on my way from my room toward the reception, when I the elevator door opened, I saw two-armed suicide bombers. People were escaping and the attackers were firing at them.”

Afghan security officials confirmed that 34 provincial officials were gathered at the hotel to participate in a conference organized by the Telecommunication Ministry.

A fire broke out at the hotel as the fighting raged, and the sound of explosions could be heard throughout the standoff. Live TV footage showed people trying to escape through windows on the upper stories.

 Abdul Rahman Naseri, a guest who was at the hotel for the conference, was in the hall of the hotel when he saw four insurgents dressed in army uniforms.

“They were shouting in Pashto (language), ‘Don’t leave any of them alive, good or bad. Shoot and kill them all,’ one of them shouted,” Naseri told Reuters.

“I ran to my room on the second floor. I opened the window and tried to get out using a tree but the branch broke and I fell to the ground. I hurt my back and broke a leg.”

Hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unhurt, said the attackers had got into the main part of the hotel through a kitchen before going through the hotel, with many guests trapped in their rooms.

The raid came just days after a US embassy warning of possible attacks on hotels in Kabul.

 

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