18 civilians killed as siege on Kabul Intercontinental Hotel ends

By Karen Butler
18 civilians killed as siege on Kabul Intercontinental Hotel ends
Smoke billows from the Intercontinental Hotel after Saturday's attack by armed gunmen in Kabul, Afghanistan. Eighteen civilians and four gunmen were killed in the incident. Photo by Jawad Jalali/EPA-EFE

Jan. 21 (UPI) -- At least 18 people were killed when gunmen raided the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, Afghan officials said.

The more than 12-hour standoff between gunmen and Afghan security forces ended Sunday, leaving at least 14 foreign nationals and four Afghans dead, Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish told CNN.


Four gunmen were also killed by Afghan security forces.

Ukraine officials said Ukranian nationals were among the victims.

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"Shocked by the tragic news from Afghanistan," said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. "Ukrainian citizens, employees of the Ukrainian airline, fell victims of the terrorist attack in Kabul."

Three police officers and three civilians were also injured in the incident, while 153 hotel guests and staff members were safely escorted from the scene ABC News reported.

CNN reported the attackers were affiliated with the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, but Pakistan's ministry of foreign affairs publicly condemned the attack.

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"We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In our view, cooperation among the states is important for effectively combating and eliminating the scourge of terrorism," a statement said.


U.S. Ambassador John R. Bass also spoke out against the assault and praised the Afghan security forces for their deft response.

"Such violence has no place here or anywhere in the world," Bass said. "Afghanistan deserves peace and security -- not deliberate and murderous attacks on innocent civilians."

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The hotel was attacked previously in 2011 by seven Taliban gunmen who died in the attack along with 11 other people.

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