Heavily armed Taliban insurgents attacked the popular lakeside resort Lake Qarga outside Kabul. Assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades are used to kill 18 people at a retreat used primarily by Afghan families looking to escape the summer heat. Hundreds of Afghans celebrating birthdays, weddings and the end of the week scattered as the small team of attackers took over the Spozhmai hotel, about 10 miles from the country's capital, late Thursday night.
The 11-hour siege of the Spozhmai resort, the latest in a series of high-profile insurgent strikes around the capital in recent months, ended Friday when elite Afghan police supported by NATO troops killed the last of the attackers.Though the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the country's government hailed Afghan forces for preventing even more fatalities, the attack was graphic demonstration that insurgents can still strike seemingly at will. Their reach leaves many Afghans feeling jittery and fearful as the U.S.-led NATO force begins pulling out.
Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that it was timed to an event in which diplomats and senior Afghan officials took part. They said that area is frequented by foreigners especially Thursday nights for alcohol, prostitution and other immorality. The authorities said there are no signs of foreigners of any high ranking Afghan officials on the area when the attack happened.
Survivors described the small team of insurgents as calculating killers who scoured the resort for victims. Four militants shot young men at close range and held women hostage for hours. One of the survivor said that he saw three armed men take over the facility wearing an Afghan police jacket. A young handsome guy was even shooted while one of the insurgents talking to his phone. At least 17 Afghan civilians and one policeman were killed during the attack, and more than 300 people escaped as the siege unfolded.
In the aftermath of the attack, the picturesque hotel lay in ruins, its facade blasted away, floors sticky with blood, furniture smashed and shattered glass and shell casings littering the ground. Bodies lay heaped and scattered amid the debris of half-finished meals and forlorn possession.
The attack stormed the resort at 11 pm Thursday. By some witness accounts, the assailants initially wore all-enveloping blue burkas to disguise themselves and buy a few moments of confusion, throwing off the garments when they stormed into the hotel.
Source: Google News