News - Afghanistan
Three days after the deadly Park Palace hotel attack in Kabul, officials are still trying to determine the number of attackers who gunned down 14 people, including 10 foreigners.
Sources close to the investigation told TOLOnews that two days prior to the attack at least one attacker checked in to the hotel.
However, the director of criminal investigation at the Kabul Police HQ would not give out details but said the case has been handed over to the National Directorate of Security for further investigation.
Following the deaths of an Afghan woman and four Afghan men, one of whom had dual British citizenship, along with four Indians, two Pakistanis, an American, an Italian and a Kazakhstani woman, questions have been raised regarding the exact number of armed attackers.
Security officials who have spoken on condition of anonymity have said that in addition to the 14 victims, they found the body of at least one attacker. Bodies of other individuals - whose identities are yet to be determined – might also have been involved, said a source.
"Our investigations are ongoing. A person was killed as a result of confrontational firing with police and his body is with the police and we are trying to determine the exact number of attackers using the evidence that we have," says Fareed Afzali, Director of Criminal Investigations at Kabul Police HQ.
Many, including an eyewitness, have called the attack mysterious and have raised serious questions, including that of how an attacker or attackers gained entry without any confrontation with guards.
In an interview with TOLOnews, military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhail said that on the night of the incident he was at the hotel with one of his friends.
Amarkhail said the attackers were planning to kill the Indian Ambassador to Kabul who was expected to attended a concert at the hotel that night. He said an attacker opened fire on everyone present when he heard a senior official had arrived.
Amarkhail said the attacker obviously assumed the official was the ambassador. The ambassador, however, was not at the hotel that night.
"When I talked to my friends, they said that the attacker was brought to the hotel two nights ago, and had plenty of bullets with him. I don't know why these things happen? Did this man drop down from the sky or did he make his own way to the hotel. I believe that these men were brought to the hotel by specific people," says Amarkhail.
Meanwhile, some of the injured told TOLOnews that the person who shot them did not look local. One hotel staff member confirmed this and said: "I went to the corridor, this man was sitting near the counter, and shot us," says Muhammaduddin.
"I only saw one attacker, but I don't know if there was attackers outside," says Zabhiullah, another wounded survivor.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi spoke to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday and offered his condolences on the loss of lives due to the attack.
"We are one when it comes to fighting terror. President Ashraf Ghani expressed sadness on the unfortunate demise of Indian citizens in the attack in Kabul", the Prime Minister said.