Afghan police sifted through one of Kabul's landmark hotels room by room on Wednesday for any more casualties and secured the building after an overnight assault by Taliban suicide bombers killed eight Afghan civilians, police and a foreigner.
The nine attackers, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons, stormed the heavily guarded Intercontinental hotel, frequented by Westerners and VIPs, before a NATO helicopter killed the remaining insurgents in a final rooftop battle that ended a raid lasting more than five hours.
The foreign victim was a Spanish civil aviation pilot, according to Spain's foreign ministry.
The brazen raid came only a week after US President Barack Obama announced a phased withdrawal of combat troops to 2014, and it raised more doubts about the ability of Afghan security forces to battle insurgents.
It needed a NATO helicopter to finally finish off the attackers, and NATO trainers helped oversee the Afghan police response to the raid. After several explosions, attackers entered the hotel late on Tuesday and made their way to the ballroom, a hotel receptionist said.
Some carried tape recorders playing Taliban war songs and shot at anyone they saw. Guests jumped from second and third floors to escape, the receptionist said, asking not to be identified.
"The police are still searching room by room to see if there are any casualties or any threats," Kabul police chief Ayoub Salangi said.
Eight people were wounded in the attack, according to the interior ministry.
There have been insurgent attacks at a hotel, guesthouse and a supermarket in Kabul over the past year, although the capital has been relatively quiet compared with the rest of the country.
The timing of the attack suggested similarities with other raids meant to show the Taliban retain the ability to strike at will despite gains made by NATO-led troops over the past 18 months.
Some guests included provincial governors attending a conference due to begin on Wednesday over the transition of civil and military responsibility from foreign forces to Afghans, two Afghan officials said.
1. How many people were killed?
2. How many attackers were involved?
3. When will US combat troops be withdrawn?
（中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.