Taliban storm luxury hotel in Kabul | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 23, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 23, 2012

Taliban storm luxury hotel in Kabul

18 killed


Nato helicopters fly near the Spozhmai Hotel in Qargha lake in the outskirts of Kabul yesterday. Photo: AFP

Taliban militants armed with guns and rockets attacked a lakeside hotel near Kabul overnight, seizing dozens of hostages including women and children and killing at least 18 people.
It took the government 12 hours to declare the brazen assault on the Spozhmai Hotel over with all four militants killed, after security forces earlier freed a number of the hostages.
The standoff ended at 11:00am, when the fourth attacker was killed, the interior ministry said.
The Taliban attacked as people gathered for a late dinner.
Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the attackers killed 18 people, including three hotel guards and one policeman.
The attack is likely only to exacerbate fears that insecurity is spiralling as Nato combat troops prepare to exit the Afghan war in 2014.
The US commander of Nato troops in Afghanistan blamed the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network for orchestrating the assault, the latest in a series of spectacular commando-style raids on hotels, government and Western targets in Kabul blamed on the faction.
The Spozhmai is a haunt of the wealthy Kabul elite and on Thursday nights -- the start of the Afghan weekend -- is usually packed with families and mixed groups of men and women.
The Taliban, who are leading a bloody insurgency against Karzai's Western-backed government, told AFP that the hotel was attacked because of "wild parties, drinking and prostitution" every Thursday.
President Hamid Karzai warned Thursday that attacks on Afghan police and soldiers were increasing, saying that 20 to 25 personnel were being killed every day.

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