The Taliban, often fast to say assaults, issued a press release declaring its duty 14 hours after the assault started. No less than two senior Afghan officers stated the nation’s intelligence company had reviews that the Haqqani Community, a brutal arm of the Taliban, had deliberate the violence.
“The assault was carried out by #Pakistan based mostly Haqqani Terrorist Community,” Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the Afghan authorities’s chief government, said on Twitter.
Insurgents armed with grenades and firearms stormed the lodge round 9 p.m. on Saturday, setting off an explosion and a fireplace. A lot of the rooms have been occupied, with a minimum of one hundred visitors of the Ministry of Communications and Info Know-how staying there for a convention.
The assault comes amid intensifying violence across the nation. Within the northern province of Balkh, which has been on the middle of a current political showdown with the central authorities, no less than 18 individuals have been killed in an assault by the Taliban late Saturday, most of them members of the native police pressure, officers there stated.
Sarajuddin Abed, the governor of Sholgara district, which incorporates the location of that assault, stated that preliminary info steered members of the native police had been poisoned earlier than they have been attacked, however that the incident was nonetheless underneath investigation.
In Kabul, helicopters and drones circled above the lodge for hours whereas friends hid inside, many cowering beneath beds or in rest room stalls. Tv footage confirmed visitors making an attempt to climb out of home windows with the assistance of makeshift ropes.
In a room on the second flooring of the 200-room lodge, Haji Saheb Nazar, forty five, an worker of Afghan Telecom, spent the night time huddled in a toilet, afraid to go away. After dawn, he spoke on his cellphone in a whisper, almost in tears. “It’s nonetheless happening, upstairs and downstairs,” he stated. “I don’t know what’s occurring.”
“My household is so frightened about me, they usually hold calling me,” he stated. “I don’t know what’s happening outdoors and what number of of them are within the lodge. But when they’re solely 4, why can’t police kill or arrest them?”
One other visitor, Abdul Rauf, forty eight, stated he had run by way of the halls of the lodge as an armed man was firing.
“I don’t know if he was the police or a suicide attacker, however he was capturing,” he stated by cellphone whereas hiding beneath the mattress of his lodge room. “I escaped to my room and locked the door. I heard capturing and greater than three explosions. Two rooms have been on hearth and smoke got here into my room. I couldn’t breathe till I broke a window with my chair.”
This isn’t the primary time a well-liked lodge has been the goal of an assault in a metropolis that more and more feels barricaded with blast partitions that develop ever taller.
The Intercontinental Lodge was attacked by insurgents in 2011; 21 individuals have been killed, together with 9 assailants, and lots of others wounded earlier than the Afghan authorities, with substantial help from worldwide army forces, managed to convey an finish to the violence.
Different lodges have additionally been focused. The Serena Lodge, a luxurious lodge in Kabul, has been struck 3 times, together with an assault in 2014 that killed 9. In that assault, Taliban gunmen hid small pistols within the soles of their footwear to evade heavy safety, then entered the restaurant and killed visitors at shut vary, together with a well known Afghan journalist, his spouse and all however one in every of his youngsters. The occasions led to an unusual apology for what the Taliban referred to as a “mistake.”
In 2015, the Park Palace hotel in downtown Kabul was attacked, killing no less than 15 individuals, together with one American.
Quickly after dawn on Sunday, there have been glimmers of hope within the capital. Mr. Rauf advised a reporter that the authorities had reached his room and brought him to a protected space that they had arrange on the primary flooring, the place he joined 30 different visitors whereas safety operations continued all through the constructing.
“We tried to proceed with warning to keep away from harming friends who hid within the rooms and locked the doorways towards the attackers,” stated Maj. Gen. Afzal Aman, commander of the Kabul Garrison, which is answerable for safety within the capital.
Mukhtar, 50, an Afghan who makes use of just one identify, spent the night time on the road outdoors the lodge, repeatedly calling his 24-yr-previous son, Zaiurahman, who works inside as a safety guard. He received no reply till shortly after dawn on Sunday.
“He stated he was protected. I used to be actually comfortable and cried,” Mukhtar stated. “From midnight till now I’ve been ready right here, and now I simply need to hug him and kiss him when he comes out.”
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