Taliban truck bomb hits Northgate Hotel in Kabul

At least one policeman killed in attack targeting heavily guarded hotel close to Kabul's international airport.

    Taliban truck bomb hits Northgate Hotel in Kabul
    A powerful explosion rocked a foreign guesthouse near Bagram [Reuters]

    Fast Facts

    • Hotel for foreign military, services personnel attacked
    • Gunfire, explosions heard as security forces surround site
    • Power cut in Kabul as powerful blast hits city

    Three Taliban attackers and one policeman are dead after an attack on Kabul's Northgate Hotel, just days after the deadliest attack in Kabul for 15 years.

    Three policemen were wounded during a battle with insurgents as they tried to enter the hotel through a gap made when they detonated a truck filled with explosives, General Abdul Rahman Rahimi, head of Kabul police, said.

    "Two of our police patrols got to the scene immediately after the initial blast," General Rahimi said.

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    The Taliban failed to enter Northgate, a facility providing life-support services to foreign military personnel in the Afghan capital.

    TOLO News, Afghanistan's first 24-hour broadcaster, said all staff and guests at the hotel were accounted for and unharmed.

    It said the attack and ensuing operation was over and that three Taliban fighters were killed. One died in the explosion and two others were shot dead.

    Tremors from the massive truck bombing, which was preceded by a power outage, were felt across the city.

    Regular and special police units started clearing operations at dawn and killed both the remaining attackers.

    "No harm or casualties were inflicted to national or foreign residents within Northgate," Rahimi said, but added that police were still investigating whether any civilians had been injured by the blast.

    A statement from the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said had caused "dozens of casualties", and added its fighters had entered the compound.

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    Northgate, close to the US-run Bagram air base north of Kabul, is a heavily guarded compound with blast walls and watchtowers.

    Foreign guesthouses have been a regular target of insurgent attacks since the Taliban began their war to topple the Kabul government. 

    The attack comes after twin bombings left 80 people dead in the Afghan capital on July 23, in the deadliest attack in the city since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.

    After the attack, Afghan security forces closed off streets around the site, which is east of Kabul's main international airport and on the way to the sprawling Bagram air base north of the capital.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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