Afghan Special Forces ends Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel Siege

IndraStra Global

Afghan Special Forces ends Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel Siege

IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: Afghan security forces keep watch near the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel following the attack. Source: AFP

Image Attribute: Afghan security forces keep watch near the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel following the attack. Source: AFP

The Afghan Interior Ministry says a deadly siege of a major luxury hotel in Kabul has ended, with at least three attackers dead after a 12-hour security operation. Interior Minister Wais Barmak told RFE/RL that a private security company had taken responsibility for the protection of the hotel around two weeks ago.

Image Attribute: An aerial image of Kabul InterContinental Hotel (Dated: Jan 2017)

Image Attribute: An aerial image of Kabul InterContinental Hotel (Dated: Jan 2017)

Afghan special forces were lowered by helicopters on to the roof of the hotel during the night, an interior ministry spokesman said. In total, five civilians were killed by the assailants and six others were injured, including three police officers. One foreigner was among the dead. However, according to TOLOnews, reliable sources told that the siege has not ended and that two attackers are still inside the hotel.

Image Attribute: Kabul InterContinental Hotel, Jan 21, 2018, Day-time combing operation.

Image Attribute: Kabul InterContinental Hotel, Jan 21, 2018, Day-time combing operation.

More than 150 people, including about 40 foreigners, were freed by security personnel at the Hotel InterContinental after the attack, which began around 9 p.m. local time (16:30 GMT) on January 20. It was initially reported that four gunmen were involved in the attack. Afghan security officials said gunmen stormed the hotel, apparently entering through the kitchen, opening fire on guests and battling special forces through the night. Witnesses reported seeing several people climbing over a top-floor balcony using bedsheets to escape the attackers. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Image Attribute: An Afghan security force keeps watch near the site of an attack - Kabul InterContinental Hotel, Jan 20-21, 2018

Image Attribute: An Afghan security force keeps watch near the site of an attack - Kabul InterContinental Hotel, Jan 20-21, 2018 / Source: CGTN

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said that security forces were continuing to clear the luxury hotel. He added that security forces were going room-by-room to confirm that there were no other attackers.

Earlier in June 2011, The Intercontinental was targeted in a  suicide attack that killed 21 people, among them at least 10 civilians.

Image Attribute: A 2011 image showing smoke and flames rising from Kabul InterContinental Hotel after coming under attack. Source: Reuters

Image Attribute: A 2011 image showing smoke and flames rising from Kabul InterContinental Hotel after coming under attack. Source: Reuters

Nasrat Rahimi, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the attackers set the kitchen and third floor on fire as they attacked the hotel, with “almost half the third floor burnt.” Television video showed black smoke rising from the massive landmark hotel in the early morning of January 21.  

The InterContinental Hotels Group developed the hotel, which opened in 1969. But the hotel, now a state-owned property, has had no association with the group since the Soviet invasion in 1979, though it continues to use the name without a connection to the international company.

With reporting by RFE/RL, AFP, tolonews.com, CNN, dpa, Reuters, and AP

Image Attribute: File photo of Hotel InterContinental, Kabul (in 70's), Before the Soviet Invasion

Image Attribute: File photo of Hotel InterContinental, Kabul (in 70's), Before the Soviet Invasion