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Death toll from Afghan hotel attack climbs to 18, including 14 foreigners

Staff Writer |
At least 18 people, including 14 foreigners, were killed when gunmen laid siege to an upscale hotel in the Afghan capital Kabul.

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The attack on the Intercontinental Hotel, which has since been claimed by the Taliban, began around 9 pm local time on Saturday evening, just as guests were dining in the restaurant area, and lasted close to 12 hours before Afghan security forces were able to put an end to the ordeal.

“We can confirm that 18 people died in last night’s attack, 14 of those were foreigners and four were Afghans,” Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, told EFE.

He added that the deceased foreign nationals included nine Ukrainians, one Greek, on Kyrgyz and three others yet to be identified.

Rahimi said that 11 of those killed were employees of the Afghan airline Kam Air.

A source from the airline told EFE they could so far confirm that 10 employees had been killed; eight Ukrainians and two Venezuelans.

The heavily-guarded Intercontinental Hotel is located atop a hill in the west of the Afghan capital and caters to wealthy Afghans and foreigners, and often hosts private parties and official events such as press briefings, seminars and conferences.

A similar assault on the hotel in June 2011 left 12 dead, as well as nine attackers.

In late May 2017, Kabul was the scene of the worst terror attack in Afghanistan since the United States invasion and subsequent fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, when a truck bomb killed 150 people and left more than 300 wounded.

Since the formal end of NATO’s combat mission in Jan. 2015, the Afghan government has been steadily losing ground to insurgents and now controls only 57 percent of the country, according to the US Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan (SIGAR).

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