The attack of the Taliban on the luxurious Hotel Inter-Continental in the Afghan capital Kabul, according to the government, cost the lives of eighteen citizens: four Afghans and fourteen foreigners. The figures of the Ministry of the Interior are significantly lower than the 43 civilian casualties reported by the local news agency ToloNews based on sources from the security services.
According to figures from the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, there are one Kyrgyz, one Greek and nine Ukrainians among the fourteen foreign victims. Of the three other foreigners, the nationality could not yet be communicated.
In addition, ten people, all Afghan civilians, were injured, says Nasrat Rahimi, the spokesman for the ministry. Furthermore, according to Rahimi, the six attackers were killed, bringing the total death toll to 24.
It is not yet clear whether that death toll will increase further. Previously, ToloNews had reported 43 civilian casualties. The news agency based itself on sources at the security services.
Last night at around 5 pm local time three attackers entered the five-star hotel. In the six-story building, a wedding party and a conference were in progress at the time. Afghan special units came on the spot and began to exempt the building floor by floor. During the attack, fire would also have broken out in a part of the hotel, as confirmed by the ministry and the police. The perpetrators would have set fire there on their way through the kitchen.
The Belgian ministry of foreign affairs said last night not to know Belgians in the hotel. The embassy in Pakistani Islamabad is following the situation, it said.
The Inter-Continental Hotel, which is located on a hill to the west of Kabul, was also the target of a five-hour attack in 2011. Taliban fighters entered the hotel on June 28 with machine guns and bombs. There were at least 21 deaths, including the nine attackers.