News / Asia

    Taliban Gunmen Killed in Attack on Kabul Hotel

    Afghan security personnel arrive near the Serena hotel, during an attack in Kabul, March 20, 2014.
    Afghan security personnel arrive near the Serena hotel, during an attack in Kabul, March 20, 2014.
    Four Taliban gunmen were shot dead after they opened fire in a luxury hotel catering to foreigners in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, Thursday. The incident comes ahead of Afghanistan's presidential elections next month.

    Afghan security forces found the young gunmen hiding in bathrooms of the Serena Hotel and shot them dead.

    Officials say the suspects hid guns in their socks and walked into the hotel in the early evening. They waited about three hours before firing. All were said to be younger than 18 years old.

    At least two guards were wounded as guests scrambled for safety.

    Ambulances were seen rushing to the hotel, which Afghan security forces quickly cordoned off.
     
    The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying a number of suicide bombers had entered the hotel from a back door.  A militant spokesman claimed heavy casualties to both Afghan and foreign nationals.  The Taliban is known to exaggerate casualty claims.
     
    A suicide bomber attacked the same hotel in 2008, leaving six people dead.
     
    The violence is the latest in a string of attacks on Afghan security forces and international workers.  Earlier Thursday, Taliban militants stormed a police station in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing at least 10 officers.  On Tuesday, they set off a suicide bomb at the entrance to a busy market in northern Faryab province.
     
    Omar Samad, a security analyst with Silkroad Consulting, said the Taliban attacks are an attempt to disrupt the April 5 presidential elections, which the militants consider a Western project.
     
    “So Westerners, the United Nations included, and those who work for these types of organizations, to their eyes are seen as part and parcel of the enemy, and it also adds to the psychological impact as well,” he said.
     
    Samad said he expects the attacks by the Taliban and its affiliated militants to increase.
     
    “So you have ballots on the one hand and you have bullets in the other," he said. "My hope as an Afghan is that all Afghans will have an opportunity to use the ballot and not be swayed by the bullet.”
     
    Hidden behind blast walls and protected by guards, the Serena Hotel is considered one of the safest buildings in Kabul.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora