KABUL – The United States condemned the Taliban suicide attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel on Sunday which killed at least 18 people, 14 of them foreigners.
“We mourn all those who lost their lives in the attack, whether Afghans or citizens of other countries,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and wish for the speedy recovery of those wounded.”
Tillerson said that Washington was in contact with Afghan authorities regarding the attack and that the US is “committed to supporting Afghan efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity for their country.”
He also said that Washington condemns “terrorist groups for their violent campaign against Afghan and foreign personnel working to improve Afghanistan.”
The New York Times, citing local sources, reported that 43 people were killed when gunmen laid siege to the upscale hotel in the Afghan capital, but the Afghan Interior Ministry said that 18 people, including 14 foreigners, died.
The attack on the Intercontinental Hotel was claimed by the Taliban and began around 9:00 pm local time Saturday evening while guests were dining in the restaurant area, and lasted close to 12 hours before Afghan security forces were able to put an end to the ordeal.
“We can confirm that 18 people died in last night’s attack, 14 of those were foreigners and four were Afghans,” Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, told EFE.
He added that the deceased foreign nationals included nine Ukrainians, one Greek, on Kyrgyz and three others yet to be identified.
Rahimi said that 11 of those killed were employees of the Afghan airline Kam Air.
The heavily-guarded Intercontinental Hotel is located atop a hill in the west of the Afghan capital and caters to wealthy Afghans and foreigners, and often hosts private parties and official events such as press briefings, seminars and conferences.