As Taliban attackers went on an overnight rampage through the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Saturday, two hotel staffers who sustained injuries in the attack, described the terrifying attack at the heavily-guarded luxury hotel.
Two of the attackers started deliberately shooting the guests after the had finished their dinner, the staff members said.
Some desperate guests also tried to escape bullets and later a fire by jumping off balconies.
Survivors slammed security forces and said the rescue effort had been extremely poor especially as wounded victims lay for hours without any medical assistance.
Haseeb, 20, who started work at the hotel four months ago, said two of the assailants had been dressed in stylish civilian clothes and asked him to serve them food after entering the restaurant.
He said the attackers then deliberately opened fir on the people with AK-47 rifles after eating their food.
Haseeb said he, and eleven of his colleagues, then ran into a room on the fifth floor of the hotel to hide.
According to him, the attackers went through the hotel room-by-room looking for people and randomly shooting them.
“They (attackers) were wearing very stylish clothes,” Haseeb said. “They came to me and asked for food. I served them the food and they (attackers) thanked me and took their seats. Then they took out their weapons and started shooting the people.”
“There were dozens of dead bodies lying around me. I was one of the few people alive there, but one wounded person asked me for help and I took him out,” added Haseeb.
Mohmmad Musa Kamal, head of Nuristan telecommunication department, who was staying at the hotel ahead of a scheduled conference on Sunday, also sustained injuries in the attack. Kamal jumped from the second floor of the hotel and lay on the ground for hours before help arrived.
“I was creeping towards the elevator when I heard the attackers saying hit them one by one, hit them one by one! We rushed towards the rooms, whoever were tying to move towards the elevators, the attackers were killing them,” said Kamal.
Farid, another wounded survivor, said he can only remember his name and nothing about the attack due to head injuries caused in the attack.
Norullah is another civilian who sustained serious wounds in the attack. His legs and teeth have been broken and his family has no information about him.
“The wounded are now in a stable condition. We have operated on them,” said one doctor at a Kabul hospital.
According to eye witnesses, dozens of people were killed in the attack on the hotel.
At least 400 civilians have lost their lives as a result of suicide attacks and explosions and hundreds more wounded in the past three months, officials stated recently.
The attack by the Taliban on the Intercontinental Hotel comes amid intensifying violence around the country. In the northern province of Balkh, at least 18 people were killed in an attack by the Taliban late Saturday, most of them members of the local police force, local officials there said.
Sarajuddin Abid, the district governor of Sholgara, said the incident happened Saturday night when a group of Taliban militants attacked a party in Buzboi village in the district where they shot dead eighteen people.
As well as in the west, at least eight civilians were killed in a roadside mine in Gulran district of the provinces. Victims were reportedly on their way to Iran.