35 Hostages Freed Following Afghan Hotel Attack

Posted June 22nd, 2012 at 2:25 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan officials say its security forces have freed at least 35 hostages taken by Taliban insurgents in an attack on a hotel on the outskirts of Kabul.

Authorities Friday said three hotel guards and one police officer have been killed in the assault on the Spozhmai Hotel and that two of the attackers are dead.

Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the hotel late Thursday, seizing civilian hostages, including women and children. The fighting between the security forces and the Taliban continued Friday morning.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility, saying its fighters had targeted a hotel being used by foreigners.

Officials say at least three of the militants are believed to remain inside the hotel.

Police say the Taliban insurgents, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles, attacked the hotel on the shores of Qargha Lake, where guests and families had gathered for a party. The hotel is popular with wealthy Afghans, businessmen, and foreigners.

The attack came hours after Afghan President Hamid Karzai told parliament that insurgent attacks against Afghan police and soldiers are increasing as foreign combat troops prepare to pull out of the country.