Taliban Claims Responsibility for Intercontinental Hotel Siege
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Taliban militant group has claimed responsibility for the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel attack that left at least five people, including a foreign national, dead.
The announcement came as Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish had previously said in a statement that the attackers were affiliated with the Pakistan-based Haqqani network.
Earlier, the Afghan government said the 12-hour siege had ended with all attackers killed. Two were killed on Saturday night and a third on Sunday morning.
The gunmen killed at least five people including a foreigner, while six other people were reported wounded. More than 150 people, of whom 41 were foreign nationals, were rescued according to Interior Ministry spokesman.
The group stormed the hotel at about 9pm on Saturday, took hostages and battled security forces overnight.
Security forces were moving “room by room” to check there were no more attackers, he added.
Hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unhurt, said the gunmen had entered the main part of the hotel through a kitchen before going through the hotel.
According to one witness, who did not want to be named, the attackers took hotel staff and guests hostage.
Television footage showed people trying to escape through windows on the upper stores.
The Intercontinental Hotel, an imposing 1960s structure set on a hilltop and heavily protected like most public buildings in Kabul, was previously attacked by Taliban fighters in 2011.
It is one of two main luxury hotels in the city and had been due to host an information technology conference on Sunday. More than 100 IT managers and engineers were on site when the attack took place, Ahmad Waheed, an official at the telecommunications ministry, said.