Militants in an explosion and firing attack at a luxury hotel in Afghan capital Kabul killed four hotel employees and injured six other people Monday evening, the interior ministry said.
Afghan Interior Ministry Spokesman Zamarai Bashari confirmed that suicide explosion and gun-fighting went off at Serena Hotel in the central city but did not give the identities of the casualties.
The incident took place at around 6:15 p.m. (GMT 1345) in Serena Hotel, a five-star one usually frequented by foreigners and dignitaries and several bombing bangs had been heard across the city.
Bashari said the hotel now is under full control of security personnel.
Local TV channel reports and witnesses earlier said that some armed men after firing with guards at the hotel gate, killing one guard, entered the compound and after that there was a huge explosion and gun-firing inside the hotel.
Zabihullah Mujahed, a purported spokesman for the Taliban, told Xinhua via phone from an unknown location that his outfit took the responsibility for the attack targeting foreigners in the hotel.
Mujahed said four Taliban entered the hotel and then one of them, a suicide bomber called Faruq from eastern Afghan province of Khost, blew himself up.
He added that three other fighters opened fire and after several minutes of firing they escaped from the scene.
War-torn Afghanistan has seen a resurgence of Taliban-related militancy since some three years ago and rising violence claimed over 6,000 lives in the country last year, hitting a record high since the Taliban regime fall in late 2001.
The Taliban insurgents continued to engage Afghan security forces and foreign troops with guerrilla-style attacks, besides launching roadside bombing and suicide attacks, across the country.
Both Afghans and NATO commanders have expected more Taliban attacks this year in Afghanistan.
(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2008)