Taliban Siege of Afghan Hotel is Over

Posted June 22nd, 2012 at 3:45 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan officials say a 12-hour siege by Taliban insurgents on a hotel on the outskirts of Kabul ended early Friday and at least eight people have been killed.

Earlier Friday, authorities said security forces had freed at least 35 hostages taken by the militants.

Officials say four civilians, three hotel guards and one police officer were killed in the assault on the Spozhmai Hotel. The French news agency reports all the Taliban attackers are dead.

Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the hotel late Thursday, seizing civilian hostages, including women and children.

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

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.