KABUL – At least 18 People, including 14 foreigners, were killed on Saturday during a 13-hour overnight siege by Taliban attackers at an international hotel that dominates the Afghan capital, officials said.
The unofficial reports cited by Tolo TV, the most respected news channel in the country, brought the death toll to 43. The report could not be confirmed. Officials said 160 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel by special police forces.
The nationalities of these victims were not immediately known, but a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that most foreigners worked for KamAir, a private Afghan airline, and an era of Ukraine.
In Kiev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin tweeted that six Ukrainians had been killed in the attack.
The high-profile assault at the Intercontinental Hotel, a building on a heavily guarded hill that survived the Soviet occupation, the civil war and the Taliban rule, was the latest in a series of deadly attacks with guns and shelling in the capital they went to the government intelligence facilities, hotels, mosques and other places.
The Intercontinental is a frequent site for conventions, banquets and social events and is popular with foreign visitors. He organized a wedding and a meeting of information and technology employees of the government when the attackers assaulted the complex on Saturday night.
Security officials said the five attackers died before Sunday after a protracted armed battle that erupted repeatedly throughout the night. Smoke and flames rose from the building and helicopters flew overhead, while armed security teams entered and cleared the seven-story building one story at a time.
A spokesman for the Taliban insurgents, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone interview. He said it was aimed at "citizens of the occupying nations" and their "Afghan collaborators".
The attack came despite a series of renewed efforts to revive long-stalled peace talks between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani, including reports of private meetings with Taliban emissaries.
International officials drastically denounced the attack and its deliberate targeting of civilians. US Ambassador John R. Bass called it an "atrocious" assault and said that Afghanistan "deserves peace and security, not deliberate attacks and murders against innocent civilians."
The US embassy had warned a day earlier that "extremist groups may be planning an attack on hotels" in Kabul.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, said the "atrocious" attack "may constitute a war crime." He said it was a "moral offense for the Taliban to enter the hotel with the intention of killing civilians."
The Pakistani government issued a statement strongly condemning the attack, but a spokesman for Afghan government chief executive Abdullah Abdullah reported that the attack was carried out by the "Haqqani Terrorist Network" in Pakistan. " . "
The Trump administration has repeatedly accused Pakistan of harboring the Haqqani militants, which it denies.This month, the White House suspended more than 200 million dollars in military aid to Pakistan, saying it was not He had taken steps to control the Taliban faction.
Najib Danesh, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the five attackers slipped into the hotel through the kitchen, killing at least two people on Saturday night, but the others continued to exchange fire with the Afghan forces for hours while the guests waited in fear in their rooms and covered themselves in the halls of events.
The Intercontinental was attacked by the insurgents in 2011, when 11 people died in a siege 5 hours that sent the guests to the dinner to hide under their tables while the gunmen lurked in the dining room.The insurgents also attacked the serena Hot the, strongly fortified, in the center of Kabul.
The agent reported from Islamabad.