KABUL: More than 40 people were killed after Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday, a government official told Fox News on Sunday.
The assault pinned down security forces for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed, as guests were forced to flee the building while parts of the structure caught fire.
Some guests couple be seen shimmying down tied-together bedsheets from upper-floor windows, while others were rescued by Afghan forces. The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials.
nterior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at a press conference among those killed included a foreigner and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference. Six other people, including three security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.
Ukraine said one of its citizens was killed in the attack. Vasyl Kyrylych, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, announced the death of the Ukrainian citizen in a brief statement on Twitter, without providing further details. The Afghan government officials told media on Sunday bodies are still being discovered, and the final death toll may not be known for a while.
Abdul Rahman Naseri, a guest who was at the hotel for a conference, told Reuters he was in the hall of the hotel when he saw four insurgents dressed in army uniforms.
“They were shouting in Pashto (language), ‘Don’t leave any of them alive, good or bad. Shoot and kill them all,’ one of them shouted,” Naseri said.
Witnesses said some areas of the building looked like a butcher’s shop with blood everywhere, Sky News reported.
At the onset of the attack, gunmen shot at people who were having dinner in one of the hotel restaurants before breaking into guests’ rooms. A fire eventually broke out at the hotel as the fighting raged, and the sound of explosions could be heard throughout the standoff. Live TV footage showed people trying to escape through windows on the upper stories.