The Taliban terror group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, that killed at least 43 people, the Reuters news agency reports, citing Afghani officials.
The assault started at about 9:00 p.m. local time (16:30 GMT) and was followed by the siege by the country's special forces when several gunmen dressed in army uniforms stormed the hotel and took several people hostage, keeping others trapped in their rooms. In total, the siege took about 18 hours.
According to the AP news agency, the attack took place during a conference by the Telecommunication Ministry, which brought together at least 34 local officials. As the agency reports, citing the Interior Ministry, a private firm took responsibility for the hotel's guarding three weeks before, with the investigation opened to find out how the attackers managed to get into the tightly guarded luxury hotel, popular among foreigners.
This was the second attack at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul: the first one took place in 2011, claiming the lives of 12 people, with all nine attackers eliminated as a result.
Intense fighting going on in Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. 2-4 attackers have taken hostages too.— Asfandyar Bhittani (@BhittaniKhannnn) 20 января 2018 г.
Gunfire can be heard in Pakistan embassy which is located about a km from the hotel. #kabul pic.twitter.com/mdE43aQF8v
Afghanistan has a long history of suffering from Taliban activity, a militant group created in the 1990s and aiming to establish strict Sharia law in Afghanistan and Pakistan.