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Deadly Intercontinental siege ended; 18 including 14 foreigners killed

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By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: At least 18 people including 14 foreigners were killed after more than 14 hours standoff in which the Afghan security forces killed all the six Taliban insurgents who raided Intercontinental Hotel—west part of Kabul city, officials told Afghanistan Times.

The Ministry of Interior said 14 foreigners were killed and four Afghans martyred while 12 more received injuries. It added that security forces managed to rescue dozens from the hotel.

Interior Ministry’s deputy spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi identified the killed foreigners as “one from Greece, one from Kirgizstan, nine from Ukraine and three others still unidentified.”

Spokesman for Kam Air airline, Haji Raqeeb said that 10 of the killed people were the employees of the agency. “Two of the killed employees are Venezuelans, and eight Ukrainians including two women. And it is hundred percent confirmed to us,” Raqeeb lamented.

But, some media quoting anonymous sources reported that over 40 guests were killed, and dozen others wounded.

TOLONews in its twitter account said that at least 43 people killed in attack on intercontinental Hotel Kabul, quoting a credible security source, but at condition of anonymity.

Several reporters and news agencies come up with different casualty tolls. But officially there is 18 killed, and 12 wounded.

“150 guests including 41 foreigners trapped in the hotel have been rescued by Crisis Response Unit (CRU), Najib Danish, the spokesman of Interior Ministry told newsmen.

He putted the number of attackers to six, but the Taliban insurgents—the terrorist group who claimed responsibility for the attack, said five Taliban fighters were involved in the inhuman act.

“Initial investigation shows six insurgents killed, and were armed with Ak-47 and grenade bomb.”

However, 21 days ago, the security responsibly of the famous hotel in Kabul ‘intercontinental’ had given to a privet security firm. “We will launch a serious probe into the issue,” Danish said, referring to privatizing security of the hotel.

A session of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology (MoTIT) was underway when the attack took place. Senior officials of the ministry attended the session.

It has been reported that Communication and Information Technology (CIT) department director for western Farah province was killed in attack.

Afghan leaders strongly condemned the attack, terming it inhuman act.

A statement by Presidential Palace said that such terrorist attack obliges all to intensify combats against terrorist outfits without considering differences.

Considering complicated terrorist attacks, the government of Afghanistan during recent meeting with UN-Security Council delegation, has specified for more pressure over supporter of terrorism. Till date terrorist groups enjoying hideouts and supports, there would be no security and stability in the region.

Besides condemning the attack in strongest possible terms, President Ashraf Ghani praised the Afghan security forces for bravely and timely response. The President ordered for serious probes for the incident.

The Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah condemned the attack on strongest possible terms.

“I commend the Afghan Forces for their bravery & professional action of rescuing over a 100 civilians and killing all terrorists in the insane attack on #Intercontinental Hotel in #Kabul. I condemn the attack & condole with the victim families. #InterContinentalHotel.” Abdullah twitted.

The National Security Advisor, Haneef Atmar assured investigation into the attack, expressed his gratitude to the Afghan security forces for well-timed action.

“The enemies Afghan people attacked civilians at #KabulIntercontinental hotel. Thoughts & prayers are with the victims. Thanks to AFG Crisis Response Unit-CRU for cleverly eliminating terrorists to save lives of many civilians in Hotel. The incident is being investigated thoroughly,” Atmar twitted.

The Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack, confirming involvement of five Taliban fighters.

This is not first time that intercontinental hotel was attacked. On 28 June 2011, armed suicide bombers, and an ensuing five-hour siege, left at least 21 people killed, including all nine attackers. The responsibility was claimed by the Taliban insurgents.