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. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Jason Waggoner, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Afghanistan, said the helicopters fired early Wednesday morning on the roof where militants had taken up positions. He said they killed three gunmen and that Afghan security forces clearing the Inter-Continental hotel worked their way up to the roof and engaged the remaining insurgents.
The helicopters attacked after four massive explosions rocked the hotel. After the gunmen were killed, the hotel lights that had been blacked out during the attack came back on. Afghan security vehicles and ambulances were removing the dead and wounded from the area.
Some Afghan Provincial Governors were staying at the hotel, which is frequented by Afghan officials and foreign visitors. Samoonyar Mohammad Zaman, a security officer for the Ministry of Interior, said there were 60 to 70 guests at the hotel at the time of the attack. “I saw the bodies of two suicide bombers at the main entrance of the hotel,” he said.