At least 14 people were killed in Afghanistan Wednesday in a terror attack on a Kabul hotel. The Taliban has claimed responsibility.
A senior Afghan police officer put the death toll at 14. While identities of the victims were not made public, U.S. authorities confirmed that one American citizen was among those killed in the gunfire. The assault took place at the Park Palace Guest House. A member of Afghan special forces was killed in the attack as well.
The siege started at around 11:30 a.m. (ET) and continued for more than five hours. Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said more than 50 people were rescued by security forces.
Monica Cummings confirmed the death of an American in the attack. “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims at this time,” the U.S. embassy spokeswoman told AFP. “Out of respect for the families of those killed, we have no further information at this time.”
CNN reported that the deceased included four Indians and an Italian citizen. Italy’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Luciano Pezzotti, confirmed the death of his countryman.
The United Nations said that people were staying at the hotel to attend a cultural event. Georgette Gagnon referred to the Wednesday attack as well as the one on a government department in Helmand province. The U.N. human rights director in Afghanistan described the “deliberate attacks on civilians” as “atrocities.”
Afghan special forces initially claimed that three gunmen were involved in the attack, and all of them were killed. However, only one body was discovered on the scene. According to the Taliban statement, only one person was sent for the attack.
BBC reported that two Pakistanis, one Briton and a Kazakhstan citizen also were killed in the attack. The Taliban said in its statement that the attack had been planned carefully to target U.S. citizens, among other foreigners, who were attending the event. The guests were attending a party at the garden of the hotel, where a renowned Afghan classical singer was to perform.