Four gunmen entered the Serena Hotel in Kabul and started shooting people at random, Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, the deputy interior minister, told CNN. At least two children and four foreigners were among the nine dead and six people were also hurt.
The teenaged gunmen, all of whom were under 18, were killed by Afghan security forces. The shooters are said to have been "government opponents."
Police think the teens were able to smuggle the pistols into the hotel in their shoes and then stayed in the bathroom for several hours before attacking.
Correspondents report to the BBC that “the Afghan government has blamed the attack on Pakistan's ceasefire with the Taliban, which it says has enabled the militants to focus on targeting Afghanistan.”
Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has said fighters will "continue to attack the pro-U.S. Afghan establishment” prior next month's presidential election.
The successor to Afghan President Hamid Karzai is supposed to be elected on April 5.