Kabul: The death toll in the hours-long siege at Park Palace hotel guesthouse in Kabul staged by Taliban on Wednesday night has risen to 14, including six foreigners, four among them Indians, reports said Thursday. The latest toll was issued by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and confirmed by an anonymous Afghan police official, according to an AFP report. Out of 14, six were foreigners – four Indians, one American and one Italian.
“An attack against civilians gathered for a cultural event in the Park Palace hotel in Kabul killed 14 civilians and injured several others,” the AFP quoted a UNAMA statement. Earlier, Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi had said only five people including foreigners and Afghans were killed in the attack,
Out of four Indians, there were two private auditors and a female NGO worker, reported the PTI. Significantly, the militants attacked the hotel thinking Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha was present in the compound, the PTI reported citing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s special envoy for good governance Ahmad Zia Massoud.
A bunch of gunmen wielding 9 mm pistols raided the guesthouse just before a concert was to begin to honour a Canadian as it was packed with foreign dignitaries who awaiting a concert.
Repors say that at least 60 people including foreigners were present inside the hotel at the time of the attack.
Amar Sinha, India’s ambassador to Afghanistan, said he believed at least six people inside the hotel at the time of the attack were Indian citizens. The US embassy in Afghanistan in an email statement has confirmed that a US citizen was killed in the attack, although it did not provide further details or identify the victim.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the overnight siege, the AFP reported. “The attack was planned carefully to target the party in which important people and Americans were attending,” the militants said in a statement.
Earlier Wednesday, gunmen killed 12 people and wounded 12 in an attack on a government compound in the city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, authorities said. Afghan security forces have been struggling to fend off Taliban attacks since US and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of last year.
Source : PTI