At least 14 dead including foreigners in Afghanistan guesthouse siege
KABUL: At least nine foreigners were among the fourteen people killed in an armed attack on a Kabul guesthouse, police official said Thursday.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack adding it was a suicide mission carried out by one of their Mujaheddin from Logar province. “The attack was planned carefully to target the party in which important people including Americans were present,” the militants said in a statement.
According to Abdul Rahman Rahimi, the Kabul Police Chief, there were around 60 people in the Park Palace guesthouse at the time of the attack whereas fourteen of them were killed including foreigners.
A spokeswoman of the US Embassy confirmed that one American was killed in the attack.
Four Indians, two Pakistanis, an Italian and the Italian’s Kazakhstani wife are reported dead.
Authorities cordoned off the area around the Park Palace guesthouse in Kabul’s Kolola Pushta, a diplomatic enclave in the capital city that includes a number of guesthouses frequently visited by foreigners, immediately after the attack began at about 8:30pm local time (1600 GMT).
The brutal assault was reminiscent of the two attacks by the Taliban fighters in Kabul last year, one on a restaurant and another on a hotel.
“Unfortunately a few Indian casualties occurred among others at the Kabul guest house attack today,” Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha tweeted but official sources later told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that four Indians were among the dead.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was concerned about the situation and pray for everyone’s safety.
Kolola Pushta, home to several international guest houses and hotels, is located near both the Ministry of Interior and the Indian Embassy.
Similar brazen assaults in the past have been carried out by the Taliban and the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network.
Taliban gunmen killed nine people, including three children, in the upscale Serena Hotel in Kabul last year. Two months ago, attackers stormed into a popular Lebanese restaurant in the capital and gunned down 21 people, including three United Nations staffers and a senior IMF official.
Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen opened firing at a meeting of Muslim clerics in the southern province of Helmand, killing at least seven people, police said.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks since most foreign forces pulled out at the end of last year.
Ousted from power in 2001, the Taliban have been fighting to bring down the US-backed government in Kabul.
The Oslo Times