Thu, 15 Nov 2018

STATE DEPARTMENT - The U.S. State Department is confirming Americans were killed and injured in a Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

'The attack on the hotel, once again, shows the depravity of terrorists who seek to sow chaos.Sadly, we can confirm that Americans are among the victims,' State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday.

Nauert did not specify how may Americans were killed or hurt during the siege on the Intercontinental Hotel. She said the U.S. government is in close contact with Afghan authorities regarding the investigation, and Washington stands firmly by the Kabul government.

Afghan government forces ended an overnight attack on the Kabul hotel Sunday that resulted in at least 22 deaths, including 14 foreign nationals.

Map Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul

'We express our deepest condolences to our American families and to all the victims of the attack,' said Nauert, adding Washington is grateful to Afghan security forces for their rescue efforts.

The siege lasted nearly 14 hours, during which six assailants either blew themselves up or were gunned down by Afghan forces.

An Afghan security guard stands at the entrance gate of the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan Jan. 23, 2018

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack and extended his condolences to the families of the victims.

Afghanistan's foreign ministry confirmed the newly appointed Afghan consul general to the Pakistani port city of Karachi was among those killed in the hotel attack. Rahimi said more than 161 guests, including 41 foreigners, were rescued.

International forces reportedly assisted Afghan partners in dealing with the attack.

A group claiming to represent the Afghan Taliban said the hotel attack killed and wounded 'dozens' of 'foreign occupiers,' including U.S. Special Forces, commandos and intelligence officers. The Taliban insurgent group claimed its suicide bombers carried out the assault, which they said targeted a meeting of Afghan and American security officials. The Taliban often inflates its casualty claims.

The siege began when gunmen wearing army uniforms and suicide vests stormed the hotel kitchen. They then moved into conference halls and other floors of the building, while shooting at guests.

An Afghan Interior Ministry statement claimed the Taliban-allied Haqqani network plotted the violence.

Wayne Lee contributed to this report.

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