Death toll in Kabul hotel attack rises to 14; Taliban claim responsibility

Afghan security forces surrounded the Park Palace Guest House in Kabul.

Story highlights

  • A UK-Afghan national was killed in a "callous" act of terrorism, a diplomat says
  • An American citizen and Italian national are also among the dead
  • "These deliberate attacks on civilians are atrocities," a U.N. official says

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)The death toll from an attack on a hotel in Kabul where guests were trapped amid gunfire has risen to 14, a senior Afghan police official said Thursday.

Foreigners are among the casualties from the deadly assault Wednesday night on the Park Palace Guest House, for which the Taliban have claimed responsibility.
    An American citizen was killed, U.S. authorities have said. Four of the victims were Indian citizens, CNN affiliate IBN reported, citing Indian Foreign Ministry officials.
    Luciano Pezzotti, Italy's ambassador to Afghanistan, said on Italian TV that one of his countrymen was also among those killed.
    And a British-Afghan dual national who, according to UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, was "working for the British Council" died as well.
    "This incident brings home to us once again the courage and perseverance of the people of Afghanistan and members of the international community who support them," Hammond said in a statement. "These callous acts of terrorism against innocent civilians must not be allowed to threaten a more peaceful future for Afghanistan."
    They were among people gathered at the hotel for a cultural event, according to the United Nations.
    Six others were wounded in the attack, including an Afghan special forces member, said the Afghan police official, who declined to be identified. The identities of the victims have not been released.

    U.N.: Attacks on civilians are 'atrocities'

    The Taliban, which issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, have often targeted sites frequented by foreigners. In March 2014, they carried out a deadly assault on the luxury Serena Hotel in Kabul.
    "These deliberate attacks on civilians are atrocities," said Georgette Gagnon, the U.N. human rights director in Afghanistan, referring to the Park Palace attack and one on a government department in Helmand province.
    The siege began at about 8 p.m. Wednesday (11:30 a.m. ET). It ended more than five hours later, Kabul police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said.
    Security forces rescued more than 50 people from the hotel, including trapped guests, the police chief said.
    There was confusion over the exact number of gunmen involved.
    Police officials said early Thursday that Afghan special forces had killed three armed assailants who were behind the attack. But the unidentified Afghan police official said later that the body of only one assailant had been found.
    The Taliban also said that they had sent only one attacker to the hotel.