KABUL, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Gunmen attacked Kabul‘s Intercontinental Lodge on Saturday, seizing hostages and exchanging gunfire with safety forces because the constructing within the Afghan capital caught hearth and residents and workers fled.
Lodge supervisor Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unharmed, mentioned the attackers had obtained into the primary a part of the lodge by means of a kitchen and folks tried to get out amid bursts of gunfire.
A number of folks had been killed and not less than six wounded within the raid, which got here days after a U.S. embassy warning of doable assaults on accommodations in Kabul, Nasrat Rahimi, an inside ministry spokesman, mentioned.
There was no fast declare of accountability for the newest in an extended sequence of assaults which underlined the town’s precarious scenario and the flexibility of militants to strike blows to undermine confidence within the Western-backed authorities.
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Officers mentioned there have been as many as 4 attackers and not less than two of them had been killed as Afghan Particular Forces cleared the primary flooring and moved to the second, battling the raiders, who appeared to have a big provide of hand grenades.
In response to one witness, who didn’t wish to be named, the attackers took some lodge workers and friends hostage.
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The Intercontinental Lodge, positioned on a hilltop and closely protected like most public buildings inKabul, was beforehand attacked by Taliban fighters in 2011.
It’s one among two fundamental luxurious accommodations within the metropolis and had been as a result of host an data expertise convention on Sunday. Greater than 100 IT managers and engineers have been on website when the assault happened, Ahmad Waheed, an official on the telecommunications ministry, mentioned.
Many particulars of the incident have been nonetheless unclear, however Inside ministry spokesman Najib Danish mentioned a personal firm had taken over safety about three weeks in the past.
The U.S. embassy in Kabul had issued a warning to U.S. residents on Thursday, saying “We’re conscious of reviews that extremist teams could also be planning an assault towards accommodations in Kabul.”
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The State Division mentioned it was monitoring the scenario and was in touch with Afghan authorities to find out whether or not any U.S. residents had been affected.
Captain Tom Gresback, spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Help mission in Afghanistan mentioned they have been additionally watching carefully. “Afghan Nationwide Protection and Safety Forces are main the response efforts. In response to preliminary reviews, no Resolute Help or (U.S. forces) members have been injured on this incident,” he mentioned in an emailed assertion.
Though the NATO-led Resolute Help mission says the Taliban has come underneath strain after america elevated help to Afghan safety forces and stepped up air strikes towards insurgents, safety stays precarious.
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As strain on the battlefield has elevated, safety officers have warned that the hazard of assaults on excessive profile targets in Kabul and different cities would improve.
After repeated assaults in Kabul, notably an incident final Might during which a truck bomber killed not less than 150 folks outdoors the German embassy, safety has been additional tightened.
Whereas it shares the identical title, the lodge in Kabul will not be a part of InterContinental Lodges Group (IHG), which issued an announcement in 2011 saying that “the lodge Inter-continental in Kabul will not be a part of IHG and has not been since 1980.”