Night-long siege of Kabul hotel leaves 30 dead

Afghan security personnel take position at the rooftop of the Intercontinental Hotel during a fight between gunmen and Afghan security forces in Kabul


It was initially reported that four gunmen had attacked the hotel.

There was no immediate information on casualties in the latest attack on the state-owned 1960s hotel, which is not part of the global InterContinental chain.

Four gunmen attacked 's landmark on Saturday and started shooting at guests, officials said, in an assault that is still under way. On Jan. 18, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul had warned of potential attacks on hotels in Kabul. The Taliban have demonstrated the operational capacity to carry out sophisticated attacks in Kabul, having attacked the same hotel in 2011.

Foreigners are among the hotel guests, but it wasn't immediately known how many or their nationalities, Rahimi said. Mumtaz Ahmad told NBC News.

Speaking from a hospital bed, he said the attackers began firing into the door, which the guests had barricaded with furniture when the lights went out and he took his only chance.

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Afghan security officials confirmed that 34 provincial officials were gathered at the hotel to participate in a conference organised by the Telecommunication Ministry. Live TV footage showed people trying to escape through windows on the upper stories.

Afghanistan Interior Ministry Spokesman Najib Danish said at least five other people had been killed and six wounded, a lower casualty total than earlier feared, while 153 people, including 41 foreigners had been evacuated. He said that according to initial reports, no foreign troops were hurt in the attack. This impelled Pakistan Foreign Office to issue a prompt rejoinder rejecting the knee jerk allegations by some Afghan circles to point the finger at Pakistan for the terrorist attack.

Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban since the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. "I beg the security forces to rescue us as soon as possible before they reach and kill us". Among those killed was a tribal leader who served as the local police commander, he said.

Security in Kabul has been tightened since May 31 when a massive truck bomb ripped through the diplomatic quarter, killing some 150 people and wounding around 400 others - mostly civilians.

In the western Herat province, a roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying 13 civilians, killing all but one of them, said Abdul Ahad Walizada, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. "Afghan forces, with our support, will continue to relentlessly pursue the enemies of Afghanistan, who also seek to export terror around the world", she said. Download The for your device.

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