Eli Ridder | AFGHANISTAN
Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital was attacked by at least four gunmen on Saturday evening with several civilians killed as authorities work to resolve the situation.
Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told the BBC that at least two of the attackers were killed by Afghan special forces engaging the assailants, but there were no further details released on casualty numbers.
The assault began at 9 p.m. local time on Saturday, with an Afghan intelligence agency official telling AFP news agency that the gunmen were “shooting at guests”.
It has been reported that the state-owned hotel popular for weddings, conferences and political meetings was holding an information technology conference at the time of the attack.
Danish said that the attackers appeared to include suicide bombers.
Kabul has increased its security dramatically following a truck bomb explosion that killed at least 150 individuals and more recently, an explosion at the Shai Tabayan cultural centre that killed at least 41 and injured 80 on Dec. 28 of last year.
Attacks have been attributed to the resurgent Taliban militant group, with the hotel attack appearing to have also been carried out by the same insurgents, but there has been no confirmation in regards to the allegiance or identity of the gunmen.
Local security forces previous were trading fire with the gunmen on the third and fourth floors of the hotel, according to another ministry spokesperson.
The attackers set the hotel kitchen and the fourth floor on fire, a National Directorate of Security official told AFP.
A previous attack
The Intercontinental was attacked in 2011 by gunmen and suicide bombers that killed a total of seven civilians and was claimed by the Taliban.
A four-hour operation that included North Atlantic Treaty Organization military helicopters and local Afghan forces eventually brought the hotel back into secure control.
Officials were record by the BBC as saying a meeting of provincial governors occurring at the hotel may have been the reason for the June 29 attack.
The hotel, popular with Westerners, was also the location for a planned conference regarding the transition of responsibility from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to local authorities the day following the 2011 attack.
Image of hotel from a Blogspot.