An all-night siege in an upscale neighbourhood of Afghanistan’s capital ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning with the deaths of four heavily armed attackers. No civilians or security personnel were injured or killed, an Afghan official said.
Deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi said weapons had been seized including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three automatic rifles and a hand grenade. Salangi said there had been “no civilian or military casualties”.
Kabul’s police chief General Abdul Rahman Rahimi, speaking outside the guesthouse that was the target of the six-hour assault, said: “Before reaching their target all four attackers were killed.”
The siege ended after 5am in a sustained barrage of automatic weapons fire and a series of huge explosions that resounded across the Wazir Akbar Khan district of downtown Kabul, home to many embassies and foreign firms.
The claimed responsibility for the attack in tweets on a recognised Twitter account. They referred to the target as “belonging to the occupiers,” reiterating the insurgents’ message that foreign installations are specific targets in the Afghan capital.
The attack came amid intensified fighting across many parts of since the insurgents launched their annual warm weather offensive a month ago. A Taliban attack on a guesthouse in another part of the capital earlier in May left 14 people dead, including nine foreigners.
The United Nations already has documented a record high number of civilian casualties: 974 killed and 1,963 injured in the first four months of 2015, a 16% increase over the same period last year.
The hotel has been attacked before. Formerly known as the Heetal hotel, it was damaged in a December 2009 suicide car bomb attack near the home of former Afghan vice-president Ahmad Zia Massoud, brother of legendary anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed in an al-Qaida suicide bombing two days before the 9/11 attacks. That 2009 attack killed eight people and wounded nearly 40.
The hotel is owned by the Rabbani family of the late Burhanuddin Rabbani, who served as president of Afghanistan from 1992 until 1996 and was assassinated in Kabul in 2011. Current foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani is from the same family.
earlier this month in Kabul, killing an American, a British citizen, an Italian, four Indian nationals, five Afghans and two Pakistanis.
On Monday, in southern Helmand province. As police retreated, militants surrounded the police headquarters of Nawzad district and fired down on them from surrounding hills, district police chief Napas Khan said.