News / Asia

    Taliban Kabul Hotel Attack Kills 9

    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.
    In the aftermath of a militant gun attack on Kabul's Serena Hotel, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman said Friday that the dearh toll is nine people, including four foreigners.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqui said the foreigners included two from Bangladesh, one Canadian and a Paraguayan. Earlier he had said a New Zealand national, a Pakistani and an Indian were among the dead.
     
    • Afghan police patrol the entrance of the Serena hotel in downtown Kabul, March 21, 2014.
    • A view of the Serena Hotel, a day after it was attacked by gunmen, in Kabul, March 21, 2014.
    • Afghanistan's intelligence service displays some of the Serena hotel attackers' weapons and belongings during a press conference at the Interior ministry in Kabul, March 21, 2014.
    • Afghan security personnel arrive near the Serena hotel, during an attack in Kabul, March 20, 2014.
    • Afghan police forces arrive at the site of a gun battle in Serena Hotel in Kabul, March 20, 2014.

    Among the Afghan victims was a reporter for the French news agency Agence France Presse, his wife and two of his three young children.

    AFP identified the man Friday as Sardar Ahmad, a 40-year-old journalist in its Kabul bureau. The agency reported that Ahmad's s youngest son was undergoing emergency treatment after being badly wounded.

    The Taliban is claiming responsibility for the attack. The militant group, which has promised to disrupt plans for the April 5 Afghan presidential election, has carried out attacks across the country, killing some 30 people during the past five days.
     
    Seddiqui described the scene, saying gunmen arrived at the hotel around 8:30 p.m.,  then walked toward the restaurant.
     
    “As soon as they find the restaurant, they enter and start shooting indiscriminately on people who were in the hotel," he said. "Only seven of them in the restaurant, but two of outside the restaurant, close to the lobby, one in the lobby and the other was close to the restaurant.

    "And they also killed and shot on the head, the two kids who were there, unfortunately," he said. "This is a very brutal act of terrorism.”

    Security guards in the hotel returned fire, killing two of the gunmen. Two others hid inside a restroom.

    Security forces moved in to secure all the guests, then  cornered the gunmen and shot them. The last one was killed at 11:30 p.m. The four gunmen were reportedly teenagers.
     
    Among the wounded are one foreign national, Afghan lawmaker Habibullah Gul, two police officers and a hotel guard.
     
    Seddiqui said an investigation is underway as to how the gunmen managed to get into the hotel, which is protected by blast walls, metal detectors and a guard force.
     
    At first glance, he said, it appeared to be a failure of the hotel’s own security measures.
     
    “When you get to the hotel there are lots of security guards, lots of checking, 100 percent ID checking, and they have those necessary equipments to find where that gun was hidden, that pistol was hidden," he said.

    "It’s very obvious, it gives the conclusion that yes, it was an absolute failure of that system, a very closed security system,” he said.

    Seddiqui said the attack had the marks of a Taliban or Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network operation.

    The Taliban has vowed to disrupt the upcoming election, which it dismisses as a Western-led sham, and target those participating.
     
    But Seddiqui said the country would not be deterred by such threats.
     
    “We are very committed, and we are trying our best to make sure we can prevent these kinds of attacks in the future," he said. "The police, the intelligence units, everybody is working very, very hard.

    "We are very much prepared for the elections," he said. "But this kind of attacks will not deter us from reaching our objective and goals, and that is the security of the elections.”

    Kabul’s Serena hotel is considered one of the safer places to stay in the capital, and houses many foreigners, including U.N. workers and journalists.
     
    Both the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force condemned the attack.
     
    It was the worse assault on the Kabul Serena Hotel since a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the hotel in 2008, killing six.

    Afghan officials say nine civilians were killed when four teenage Taliban gunmen penetrated the security of a luxury Kabul hotel with guns stuffed in their socks and opened fire.  
     
    Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said the four attackers were shot dead.  He also confirmed that foreign civilians were among those killed in the incident Thursday.
     
    "The attackers were killed in three hours by the Afghan security forces. Unfortunately, nine people were also killed by the attackers, four of them foreigners, from New Zealand, one from Canada and one from Pakistan and India, and also five others were Afghans, among them two children and two women, and there were six other wounded in this attack,” said Sediqi.
     
    Officials say the gunmen walked into the Serena Hotel in the early evening and waited about three hours before firing. All were said to be younger than 18 years old.
     
    The Taliban is claiming responsibility for the attack. The militant group has promised to disrupt plans for the April 5 Afghan presidential election.
     
    A suicide bomber attacked the Serena Hotel in 2008, killing at least six people.

    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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Not Again from: Canada
    March 21, 2014 2:37 PM
    I fail to understand as to WHY? VOA calls these henious criminals, that deliberately target innocent civilians, women and children "MILITANTS"- They are not members of workplace committee or other groups seeking justice- they are no more nor less, but despicable TERRORISTS. No wonder we are having so much instability, caused by terrorists on a global scale, because the Western world no longer sees, or does not want to see the reality; these groups that deliberately target civilians are TERRORISTS! And the reality is that these terrorist kill more Muslims around the World than any other definable group.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora