Azizullah, an Afghan police officer who uses only one name, told an Associated Press reporter at the scene that at least one bomber entered the hotel and detonated a vest of explosives. Another police officer, who would not disclose his name, said there were at least two suicide bombers.
Jawid, a guest at the hotel, said he jumped out a one-story window to flee the shooting.
“I was running with my family,” he said. “There was shooting. The restaurant was full with guests.”
Witness Sayed Hussain said he was inside the hotel compound when the attack started.
“I saw five to six men in civilian clothing armed with rifles who started shooting when they entered,” he said, speaking close to the scene. “I lay down on the ground and soon after the police arrived.”
He added that police and the attackers then traded fire for about 10 to 15 minutes before he heard a loud explosion.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to The Associated Press.
Attacks in the Afghan capital have been relatively rare, although violence has increased since the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Pakistan and the start of the Taliban’s annual spring offensive.
On June 18, insurgents wearing Afghan army uniforms stormed a police station near the presidential palace and opened fire on officers, killing nine.
Late last month, a suicide bomber wearing an Afghan police uniform infiltrated the main Afghan military hospital, killing six medical students. A month before that, a suicide attacker in an army uniform sneaked past security at the Afghan Defense Ministry, killing three people.
from the daily telegraph – includes video
Two NATO helicopters fired rockets that killed three gunmen on the rooftop of a besieged Kabul hotel early Wednesday after Afghan police battled insurgents who attacked with suicide bombers, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
The NATO attack appeared to have ended the standoff that lasted more than four hours. The number of casualties was not immediately clear. Afghan officials said there had been four suicide bombers and four gunmen, who all appeared to have been killed. Associated Press reporters on the scene saw at least five bodies removed from the hotel, but could not say whether they were the attackers or their victims.