Afghanistan: Security Forces End Hotel Siege

An official has confirmed that Afghan security forces have killed all the attackers who opened fire at the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul. The attack, which left six people dead, began at about 9 p.m. local time on Saturday, according to officials.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, which according to local reports began when the attackers entered through a kitchen door to avoid clashing with private security at the entrance.

The Interior Ministry has revealed that a private security company had taken over security at the hotel just a few weeks ago. A hotel employee told the AFP that security fled without a fight. The employee added that they didn’t attack and that they had no experience.

Security officials confirmed that provincial officials were at the hotel for a conference. The Interior Ministry spokesman has revealed that a telecommunications official from the Farah province is among the people who lost their lives in the attack.

Aziz Tayeb, a telecommunications official who was there, told the AFP that everything became chaotic in a moment. He added that he could repeatedly hear explosions one after another of hand grenades. The official and some of his friends escaped through the pool area, where they hid from the attackers. Pictures show guests using bed sheets to escape from the balconies of the hotel.

Guests at the hotel have confirmed that the attack began when they were eating. According to witnesses, the attackers broke into some of the rooms, taking people hostages. Security forces have now ended the siege but reports say emergency services are still battling a fire on one of the floors. Ten people were also injured in the attack.

It is the second attack on the hotel in the last seven years. In 2011, the Taliban entered the building with armed suicide bombers. According to reports, government officials were staying there for a meeting. Reports also say security fled the area and did not fight back. The siege ended after five hours but left 21 people dead, including all of the attackers. The hotel restored operations shortly after.