Taliban militants attacked a hotel near Kabul early Friday, sparking an hourslong gun battle with Afghan and NATO troops to free civilians taken hostage in the deadly siege.
At least three security guards, a police officer and three militants were killed in the standoff, according to Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, the Kabul police chief. Two other attackers are injured and resisting the assault, he said.
The siege is ongoing and at least 47 civilians have been rescued so far, including four women, he said.
Terrified civilians fled when the gunmen struck the Spozhmai hotel around midnight Thursday local time, with some jumping into a nearby lake to avoid the bloodshed. The hotel was hosting an outdoor dinner that drew a large number of Afghans, including women and children.
Afghan forces moved slowly overnight to avoid civilian casualties, the police chief said. Camouflaged soldiers hovered nearby in military vehicles as helicopters flew overhead amid heavy gunfire.FULL STORY