Kabul hotel attack ends, cop among 4 dead

Kabul—A powerful Taliban truck bomb struck a hotel for foreigners in Kabul Monday, triggering a seven-hour gun-and-bomb assault that highlighted the deteriorating security situation in a capital still reeling from its deadliest attack for 15 years.
The guests and staff of Northgate hotel were unharmed but one policeman was killed after the bombing, which rattled windows several kilometres away, paved the way for armed insurgents to enter the heavily guarded facility close to Kabul airport.
“A truck bomb packed with explosives struck the outer wall of the hotel,” said Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi.
“One policeman lost his life and three others were wounded but none of the hotel staff or guests were hurt. Three Taliban fighters including the truck bomber were killed.”
Afghan commandos set up a tight security cordon around Northgate as erratic grenade explosions and gunfire rocked the area after the attack began around 01.30am local time (2100 GMT Sunday).
Local TV station Tolo cited a source inside the facility as saying that all the staff and guests — including 11 foreigners — hunkered down in safe rooms all through the night.
It added that NATO special forces had overseen the clearance operation at the Northgate, a luxury enclave which had been fortified with blast walls, watchtowers and sniffer dogs.
Tremors from the massive truck bombing, which was preceded by a power outage, were felt across the city.—AFP

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