Taliban Gunmen Kill 18 in Attack on Kabul Hotel

Picture shows a trapped guest climbing down from the hotel balconies.

Ololade Adeyanju/

Taliban gunmen who stormed a Kabul hotel killed 14 foreigners and four Afghans during a 12-hour rampage.

The attack left desperate guests tying bedsheets together in an attempt to flee.

Terrorists stormed the luxury Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday evening, with fire and smoke seen engulfing the building located on a hilltop overlooking the Afghan capital.

Dramatic footage showed people climbing down from balconies on the six-storey block as black smoke billowed out of rooms.

Four Taliban gunmen, armed with light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, burst into the hotel and opened fire on guests and staff, killing 14 foreigners and four Afghans, before taking dozens of people hostage.

The siege was eventually stopped after special forces were lowered by helicopters on the roof during the night.

Afghan special forces during the rescue operation.

Afghan security forces killed four attackers during a long assault and rescued 150 people, including 40 foreigners, the interior ministry confirmed.

“The body of a foreigner, a woman, was recovered from the sixth floor as the last attacker was being killed,” he added.

An official with Afghanistan’s spy agency put the number of wounded at eight, while the interior ministry said six.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the latest assault in the war-torn capital via an email from spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

The interior ministry had earlier blamed the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.

The attack followed security warnings in recent days to avoid hotels and other locations frequented by foreigners.