18 Killed in Afghan Resort Attack

A bloody 11-hour siege of a lakeside resort outside Kabul…

A bloody 11-hour siege of a lakeside resort outside Kabul ended Friday when police killed the last of a four-member team of Taliban assailants — the latest in a series of high-profile strikes in and around the capital in recent months. Seventeen hotel guests and workers, as well as with one police officer, also died in the attack, according to the Interior Ministry.

The Afghan government issued a blistering statement blaming the assault on “brainwashed terrorists” based in Pakistan, and Marine Gen. John Allen, the American commander of Western troops in Kabul, said the attack “bears the signature” of the Haqqani network, a Taliban offshoot with its home base in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

In the aftermath of the attack, the once-picturesque Spozhmai hotel on the shores of Lake Karga lay in ruins, its façade blasted away, floors sticky with blood, furniture smashed and shattered glass and shell casings littering the ground. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the resort — long popular with Kabul’s wealthy elite — calling it a “hub of obscenity and vulgarity.”

The attack began shortly before midnight, when gunmen armed with heavy weapons and wearing suicide vests seized control of the hotel, setting off an all-night firefight that continued until mid-morning. Several hundred people were inside the resort at the time, including dozens attending a private party in the dining hall that was targeted.

Read more at The LA Times

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