Several American citizens were killed or wounded in a terror attack at a popular hotel in Afghanistan over the weekend, the Department of State confirmed Tuesday.
Carried out by six Taliban gunmen wearing suicide vests, the 13-hour siege at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul left 22 people dead, including 14 foreigners, according to Afghan officials. The State Department said Americans were included among the casualties, but declined to provide the number killed or wounded.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and wish for the speedy recovery of those wounded,” the department said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “Out of respect for the families of the deceased, we have no further comment.”
The attack began around 9 p.m. Saturday night, when Taliban fighters slipped through the hotel’s security checkpoints and began shooting guests, targeting foreigners specifically. As Afghan security forces responded to the scene, it became a protracted siege that didn’t end until the last of the attackers was killed Sunday morning.
Witnesses described a scene of chaos and terror, with hotel guests being sprayed with bullets as they fled the assailants. Some were forced to dangle off hotel balconies to escape a raging fire that ignited at some point during the shooting.
It was the second time in recent memory that the Intercontinental — one of Kabul’s two luxury hotels and a popular meeting place for conferences, weddings parties and government officials — was attacked by insurgents. In 2011, a group of Taliban fighters assaulted the hotel, engaging in a firefight with security forces that left all the attackers, plus 11 others, dead.
The State Department has not described the extent of the wounded Americans’ injuries. In addition to the Americans killed, six Ukrainians, two Venezuelan pilots for KamAir, a German and a citizen of Kazakhstan were also killed, reports the AP, citing Afghan officials.
The increased U.S. troop deployment to Afghanistan under President Donald Trump has not improved the security environment in Kabul, which has been the scene of several devastating attacks over the past year.
In May, a massive truck bomb detonated in the city’s diplomatic quarter, killing 150 people and wounding about 400 others. More recently, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shiite cultural center in Kabul, leaving another 40 people dead.
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