Kabul Intercontinental Hotel siege leaves more than 40 …
More than 40 people were killed after Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday, a government official told Fox News on Sunday.
The assault pinned down security forces for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed. as guests were forced to flee the building while parts of the structure caught fire.
Some guests couple be seen shimmying down tied-together sheets from upper-floor windows, and others rescued by Afghan forces. The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at a press conference among those killed included a foreigner and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference. Six other people, including three security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.
Ukraine said one of its citizens was killed in the attack. Vasyl Kyrylych, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, announced the death of the Ukrainian citizen in a brief statement on Twitter, without providing further details. Afghan officials did not identify the foreigner killed in the attack.
Abdul Rahman Naseri, a guest who was at the hotel for a conference, told Reuters he 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 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. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents initially planned to attack the hotel Thursday night but postponed the assault because there was a wedding underway and they wanted to avoid civilian casualties.
The attack unfolded almost six years after Taliban insurgents launched a similar assault on the property, which is not part of the Intercontinental chain of worldwide hotels.
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.
Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. They have also had to contend with a growing Islamic State terror group affiliate that has carried out a number of massive attacks in recent years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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