Afghanistan drastically raises Kabul hotel attack death toll

Afghanistan drastically raises Kabul hotel attack death toll
The death toll from a Taliban attack on a Kabul hotel has been raised from six to at least 18 people, including more than a dozen foreigners.
2 min read
21 January, 2018
The death toll from the hotel attack has been drastically raised [AFP]
At least 18 people died, including 14 foreigners, in Saturday night's Taliban attack on a Kabul hotel, Afghan authorities said on Sunday.

It comes hours after Afghanistan's interior ministry said only six people were killed during the six hour siege on the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capitak.

"Fourteen foreigners were killed and four Afghans," interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told Afghanistan's Tolo News.

He said that more than 160 guests and staff were rescued in the attack with Afghan elite troops, backed by the Norwegian armed forces, killing the six attackers.

Several Ukrainians were among the dead, Ukraine foreign  ministry official Vasyl Kyrylych confirmed to AFP.

More details have emerged about the attack, which suggest the attackers came dressed in army fatigues before they shot at guests and staff inside the iconic Kabul hotel.

Terrified hotel guests climbed down bedsheets tied to balconies to escape the gunmen who rampaged through the hotel, while others hid in their rooms.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in an emailed statement.

"[Militants] killed tens of foreign invaders and their puppets," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an emailed message.

It followed a series of security warnings in recent days to avoid hotels and other locations frequented by foreigners.

The Taliban and Islamic State group have launched bloody attacks on civilian and military targets over the past year.

Among the most bloody was an assault on a Shia Muslim cultural centre in the Afghan capital Kabul has left at least 40 people dead and dozens wounded.

Hotels have been frequent targets of the Taliban since the 2001 overthrow of their de-facto government in Afghanistan following a US-led invasion of the country.

The Intercontinental was targeted by militants in June 2011, when Taliban fighters stormed the hotel killing at least 12 people and with all nine attackers left dead.

Agencies contributed to this story.