After overnight battle at hotel in Afghan capital, total casualties still unknown – National

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Gunmen in military uniforms who stormed Kabul’s Intercontinental Resort on Saturday and battled Afghan Particular Forces for 13 hours in a single day precipitated heavy casualties amongst resort visitors and workers, with the whole variety of useless and wounded nonetheless not identified.

Inside Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh mentioned not less than 5 individuals – 4 Afghans and one foreigner – had been killed and 6 wounded however the remaining variety of casualties will virtually be actually larger. All 5 attackers had been additionally killed, he mentioned.


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Native airline Kam Air mentioned round 40 of its pilots and air crew, lots of whom are foreigners, had been staying within the resort and as many as 10 had been killed. Native media stories mentioned the useless included Venezuelans and Ukrainians.

Zamari Kamgar, the airline’s deputy director, mentioned it was nonetheless making an attempt to find workers.

Greater than 150 visitors had been in a position to flee as elements of the constructing caught hearth, with some shimmying down sheets tied collectively and dropped from upper-floor home windows and others rescued by Afghan forces.

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The Taliban claimed accountability for the assault.

Abdul Rahman Naseri, a visitor who was on the resort for a convention, was within the corridor of the resort when he noticed 4 gunmen wearing military uniforms.

“They had been shouting in Pashto (language), ‘Don’t depart any of them alive, good or unhealthy’. ‘Shoot and kill all of them,’ certainly one of them shouted,” Naseri mentioned.

“I ran to my room on the second flooring. I opened the window and tried to get out utilizing a tree however the department broke and I fell to the bottom. I damage my again and broke a leg.”

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Even after officers mentioned the assault was over, sporadic gunshots and explosions might be heard from the location.

The raid was the most recent in a collection of assaults which have underlined the town’s vulnerability and the flexibility of militants to mount high-profile operations geared toward undermining confidence within the Western-backed authorities.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned in a press release the assault was carried out by 5 fighters.

An announcement from the inside ministry put the blame on the Haqqani community, a gaggle affiliated with the Taliban, which claimed a earlier assault on the resort in 2011.


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THICK SMOKE

As day broke on Sunday, thick clouds of black smoke poured from the constructing, an imposing 1960s construction set on a hilltop and closely protected like most public buildings in Kabul.

The Intercontinental is certainly one of two primary luxurious motels within the metropolis and had been attributable to host an info expertise convention on Sunday. Greater than 100 IT managers and engineers had been on web site when the assault happened, mentioned Ahmad Waheed, an official on the telecommunications ministry.


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Danesh mentioned a personal firm had taken over accountability for safety on the resort three weeks in the past and there can be an investigation into attainable failings, simply days after a U.S. embassy warning of attainable assaults on motels in Kabul.

A number of armored U.S. navy autos with heavy machine weapons might be seen near the resort together with Afghan police models as Particular Forces maneuvered across the web site.

Resort supervisor Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unharmed, mentioned the attackers had obtained into the primary a part of the resort via a kitchen earlier than going via the resort, with many visitors trapped of their rooms.

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“When the sixth flooring caught hearth this morning, my roommate informed me, both burn or escape,” mentioned Mohammad Musa, who was hiding in his room on the highest flooring.

“I obtained a mattress sheet and tied it to the balcony. I attempted to come back down however I used to be heavy and my arms weren’t sturdy sufficient. I fell down and injured my shoulder and leg.”

U.S. WARNING

Though U.S. and Afghan officers say the Taliban has come below pressure after the USA elevated help to Afghan safety forces and stepped up air strikes towards insurgents, safety stays precarious throughout the nation.

In separate incidents on Sunday, eight individuals had been killed by a roadside bomb within the western province of Herat and 18 members of native militia forces had been killed at a checkpoint within the northern province of Balkh.

As strain on the battlefield has elevated, officers have warned that the hazard of assaults on high-profile targets in Kabul and different cities would improve.

After repeated assaults in Kabul, notably final Could when a truck bomber killed not less than 150 individuals outdoors the German embassy, safety has been additional tightened.

Massive areas of central Kabul are already closed off behind excessive concrete blast partitions and police checkpoints however the capacity of the assailants to get right into a well-protected resort frequented by each authorities officers and foreigners demonstrated how tough it stays to cease them.

The assault, simply days after a U.N. Safety Council go to to Kabul to permit senior representatives of member states to evaluate the scenario in Afghanistan, could additional weaken confidence within the authorities.

President Ashraf Ghani ordered an investigation and mentioned militant teams had been being helped by neighboring nations.

“So long as the terrorist teams have safe safety and secure haven, the area is not going to discover safety, stability,” he mentioned in a press release.

U.S. ambassador John Bass mentioned the embassy was in shut contact with Afghan authorities.

“Such violence has no place right here or anyplace on the earth,” he mentioned in a press release.

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