Hotel siege in Kabul leaves 17 dead


Taliban insurgents have killed 17 people - most of them civilians - in an attack on a lakeside hotel just north of Kabul, an Afghan security official has said.

The attack set off a gun battle and a 12-hour siege with Afghan forces. The Kabul police department said the fifth and final attacker has been killed and that the stand-off is over.

An Afghan army commander said the dead include 12 civilians, four security guards and a police officer.

The attackers - armed with machines guns, rocket-propelled grenades and vests laden with explosives - stormed the Spozhmai hotel at Qargha Lake.

Kabul police chief Ayoub Salangi also said that three guards at the hotel were killed, along with one policeman, during the prolonged fight to free scores of hostages.

Heavily armed gunmen stormed the hotel yesterday just before midnight.

The assault underscores the potency of the Taliban even after over a decade of efforts by Nato and Afghan forces to repel them.