Afghan soldiers stand at the site of a suicide car bomb
attack which killed at least 11 people, in Jalalabad
Taliban gunmen attacked a luxury hotel in the centre of
the Afghan capital Kabul, police say, and four of the
assailants were killed in a shootout with the Afghan security
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told Reuters that
all of the gunmen were dead and security forces were in
control of the hotel. He said he was not aware of any
fatalities among the staff or guests, but checks were ongoing
and Afghan special forces were on the scene.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility
for the attack and said the attackers had fired at foreign
and Afghan guests celebrating the Afghan new year.
"Suicide bombers have entered the Serena Hotel, heavy battle
is underway, enemies suffered heavy casualties," he said in a
His information could not be immediately verified and no one
Reuters spoke to reported hearing any explosions.
Security sources told Reuters that gunmen armed with pistols
entered the Serena hotel by a back door. Two people had been
wounded, they said. There were no details on the nationality
of those hurt.
One person who was taken to safety along with other guests
said that the shooting appeared to begin in the hotel
The hotel was attacked in 2008 by a suicide bomber and six
people were killed.
Since then, it has beefed up its protection and is considered
the safest place to stay in Kabul, protected by multiple
layers of security including metal detectors and armed
guards. It is home to many United Nations staff and foreign
Earlier in the day, the Taliban attacked a police station in
the southern city of Jalalabad with multiple suicide bombers
and gunmen. At least 11 people were killed.
The Taliban have vowed to kill anyone associated with next
month's presidential elections. The April 5 polls should mark
the first time one elected government hands power to another
in the history of Afghanistan.