Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
January 20, 2018
Afghan security officials said that gunmen attacked Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel on January 20 and that security forces battling the assailants had killed one “terrorist.”
Officials said that at least three attackers entered the hotel and had exchanged gunfire with security forces who arrived at the scene.
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that “one terrorist has been killed” and that “search-and-clearance” efforts were continuing at the Intercontinental, one of the two main luxury hotels in the Afghan capital.
Danish said that the first three floors of the five-story hotel had been cleared and that security forces were working to clear the remaining two floors.
Another Afghan security source said that the gunmen had entered the kitchen of the hotel.
Other details about the attack, including whether any civilians had been killed, were not immediately clear.
Reuters cited hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who managed to flee the scene uninjured, as saying that the assailants had entered the building and that people were attempting to escape as a flurry of gunfire surrounded them.
Nayab told Reuters, however, that he could not say whether there were any casualties.
An unidentified Afghan intelligence official was quoted by AFP as saying there were four attackers inside the building who were “shooting at guests.”
The news agency also quoted an unidentified guest reportedly hiding in his room at the hotel as saying that he could hear gunfire in the building.
The Intercontinental in Kabul was targeted in a June 2011 suicide attack that killed 21 people, among them at least 10 civilians.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the January 20 attack on the hotel.
The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.
U.S. President Donald Trump in August unveiled his new strategy for the South Asia region, under which Washington has deployed 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan to train, advise, and assist local security forces, and to carry out counterterrorism missions.
The United States currently has around 14,000 uniformed personnel in the country.
With reporting by AFP, tolonews.com, CNN, dpa, Reuters, and AP