Bloody siege ends Taliban militants attack outside Kabul
1. Elite Afghan police backed by NATO forces ended a 12-hour siege at a popular hotel outside Kabul, leaving at least 20 dead after Taliban gunmen stormed the lakeside building, bursting into a party and seizing dozens of hostages.
2. Terrified guests jumped into the lake in the darkness to escape the carnage. Up to 300 people had been inside the hotel when the attack began.
3. Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said 12 to 15 civilians, two hotel guards and a policeman were killed in the gunbattle at the Spozhmai hotel, overlooking Qargha Lake. Five attackers were also killed.
4. The Taliban had complained that wealthy Afghans and foreigners used the hotel, about 10 km (6 miles) from the centre of Kabul, for “prostitution” and “wild parties”.
5. Eight-year-old Rasoul Khan, who had a cleaning job at the hotel said: “They were asking everyone where the pimps were.” Khan, bearing a facial injury, continued: “They shot anyone who would not co-operate with them.”
6. On a balcony overlooking the lake, a 22nd birthday cake lay half eaten on a table surrounded by a dozen empty chairs. Nearby sprawled the bloodied body of a young man shot repeatedly in the chest. Like many of the victims, he was dressed in Western clothes – jeans, T-shirt and sports shoes – a sign of the wealthy clientele that frequented the upmarket hotel.
7. Afghan National Army soldiers take positions on a hill near the Spozhmai Hotel following an attack by Taliban militant at Qargha lake on the outskirts of Kabul
8. Afghan security forces celebrate their victory after the long siege was ended at Spozhmai hotel
9. An Afghan policeman photographs the body of one of the men who attacked the hotel
10. Afghan special forces soldiers display an AK-47 weapon and ammunition magazines used by militants during the attack on the hotel