The attack on a popular hotel on the outskirts of Kabul has ended, with up to 17 people dead, according to the Afghan police.
Digital Journal reported earlier today on the Taliban attack on a hotel near Kabul in Afghanistan.
Taliban militant gunmen stormed the Spozhmai Hotel on Thursday night and took dozens of civilian hostages. In the 12-hour attack on the hotel, twelve of these civilian hostages are now dead.
Local police say that the militants were heavily armed with AK-47s and rockets and that one of the attackers detonated a suicide bomb vest.
While Afghan security forces managed to free eighteen people taken hostage by the Taliban militants, they state that the attackers then took a number of civilians hostage and police now say that some of these hostages were killed.
Spokesperson for the International Security Assistance Force, Zahir, said, "According to the information we have, they have martyred some of them.”
The militants then reportedly engaged in a gunfight with security forces, and the number of casualties in this attack, as well as the suicide bomb blast, currently remains unknown. Both civilians and police are reported to be among the dead.
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that the popular lakeside hotel was host to “wild parties” involving drinking and other activities forbidden under Islam.
Kabul deputy police chief, Daoud Amin, says that according to local security officers, there were three attackers inside the hotel, along with a significant number of civilians.
Amin stated, “Currently, police forces have besieged the hotel where people gathered for a picnic or wedding party. We will start the operation against them soon and we will be very careful to make sure that civilians are not harmed.”
Zahir added that both Afghan security forces and international coalition troops responded to the assault, and added that security forces would not storm the hotel, for the time being.
“It would be very easy for police to kill them, but we are afraid because there are civilians, including women and children, trapped inside. We are waiting for daylight,” he added.
Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, told reporters, "Insurgent Taliban were using civilians as human shields to protect themselves, and even this morning around 50 locals were still held as hostages."
The hotel is now surrounded by Afghan troops and around a dozen armored vehicles, as well as police vehicles and ambulances.
The number killed is still to be finally confirmed with The New York Times reporting that 20 are dead, and that the victims include the hotel’s manager, several private security guards and a police officer. They report that officials say the seven Taliban attackers were killed by Afghan security forces.