Fatal attack on a Kabul hotel frequented by Chinese citizens
According to a spokesman for the ruling Taliban, at least three assailants were killed by Afghan security forces when they opened fire at a Kabul hotel popular with Chinese tourists.
On Monday, the unidentified armed men began fire inside the multi-story Kabul Longan Hotel in the city's center. Witnesses heard several explosions and bursts of gunfire.
No foreigners were killed in the attack, but two of them were hurt when attempting to flee by jumping off the hotel balcony, according to a statement from the Taliban's spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.
Near the assaulted hotel in the Shahr-e-Naw neighborhood of Kabul, the Emergency Hospital, which is sponsored by an Italian non-profit, reported receiving 21 casualties upon arrival: 18 injured and three dead.
A fire started on one of the hotel's levels as the shooting was still going on inside, sources said the Reuters news agency.
A journalist in Kabul shared a video on Twitter that was authenticated by Reuters and showed smoke rising from the structure.
According to Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran, the attack happened at around 2:30 pm local time (10:00 GMT) when armed men targeted the hotel where "ordinary people were staying."
Locals claimed that the attack took place in a building where Chinese and other foreigners sometimes reside. They claimed that after hearing a loud explosion, the firing continued.
The assault took place the day after the Chinese ambassador met with the deputy foreign minister of Afghanistan to address security-related issues and to request increased attention for the embassy's protection.
The strike occurred close to a Chinese guesthouse, according to the official Xinhua news agency of China, and the country's embassy in Kabul was closely following the situation.
China, one of the few nations to keep a diplomatic mission there, and Afghanistan share a rocky 76 km (47 mi) of borderland. China has not formally recognized the Taliban regime.
In recent months, there have been a number of bombing and shooting assaults in Afghanistan, some of which the militant organization ISIL (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for.
The Taliban, who took over after the withdrawal of American-led foreign soldiers in August 2021, have declared they are committed to securing the nation.
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