A hotel hosting foreign visitors in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul was attacked on Monday and three of the attackers were killed, a Taliban official said.
Two foreign residents were injured when they jumped from windows to escape, said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban government. Residents reported explosions and gunfire, and photos and videos posted on social media showed smoke billowing from the building.
Kabul Emergency Hospital said in a tweet that there was an explosion and gunfire near a hotel about a kilometer away. “So far, we have received 21 casualties – 3 were already dead upon arrival.”
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Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, said the attack lasted several hours. He said a “clean up” operation was underway.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the regional affiliate of the Islamic State group – known as Islamic State in Khorasan province and a rival to the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan – has ramped up its attacks since the takeover of the country by the Taliban last year.
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A resident of the Shar-e Naw neighborhood where the attack took place told the Associated Press he heard explosions and then several shots. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from Taliban officials.
Another resident of the Shar-e Naw neighborhood told the AP that a firefight was still going on. He said he and his family were staying at their home about three blocks from the site of the attack. He also spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
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Taliban forces rushed into the area and blocked all roads leading to the site, said Zadran, the police chief’s spokesman.