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At least five dead in attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel

KABUL At least 18 people including 14 foreigners were killed in a bloody Taliban-claimed assault on a hotel in Kabul, an interior ministry spokesman said yesterday, hours after the overnight attack ended.

"Fourteen foreigners were killed and four Afghans," interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told Afghanistan's Tolo News, without specifying the nationalities involved.

Ukrainian officials had already said at least one Ukrainian was among the dead.

Gunmen dressed in army uniforms stormed the Intercontinental Hotel and battled Afghan Special Forces for 13 hours in the overnight siege, officials and witnesses said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which saw more than 150 guests flee, with some shimmying down tied-together sheets from upper-floor windows and others rescued by Afghan forces.

Mr Abdul Rahman Naseri, a guest who was at the hotel for a conference, was in the hall of the hotel when he saw four insurgents dressed in army uniforms.

"They were shouting in Pashto (language), 'Don't leave any of them alive, good or bad. Shoot and kill them all'," Mr Naseri said. "I ran to my room on the second floor. I opened the window and tried to get out using a tree but the branch broke and I fell to the ground. I hurt my back and broke a leg."

Mr Danish said the siege ended when the last gunman was shot dead.

Even after officials said the attack was over, sporadic gunshots and explosions could be heard from the site.

It is unclear how many gunmen were involved. Mr Danish said three gunmen were killed, while witnesses said four were involved and the Taliban said five.- AFP

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