Gunfight in Kabul hotel run by Chinese businesspeople lasts one hour, over 10 explosions occurred: source
Published: Dec 13, 2022 12:31 AM
Large amounts of smoke is seen in the hotel. Photo: Web

Large amounts of smoke are seen coming from the hotel on Monday. Photo: Web

Three armed people opened fire on Monday inside a hotel in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, which was run by Chinese businesspeople. The gunfight lasted for an hour and over 10 explosions occurred, sources told the Global Times on Monday.

Wang Duanyong, an associate professor in international relations at the Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Monday that he was staying on the sixth floor of the hotel and heard an explosion on the seventh and eighth floor.

Wang learned that three armed people had stormed into the hotel and exchanged fire with hotel security staff. Taliban authorities then sent personnel to deal with the situation.

According to Wang, the gunfight lasted approximately one hour, during which time more than 10 explosions occurred. Wang said hotel employees showed him the pictures of the scene, and that suicide bombers were suspected to have been there.

The three attackers have been killed and the clean-up operation is now over, chief spokesman of the Taliban-run caretaker government Zabihullah Mujahid said, according to Xinhua News Agency. "The clean-up operation on the hotel is over by killing three attackers and rescuing all guests from the hotel," Mujahid said via his Twitter account hours after the incident. "All the foreign guests are safe and only two were injured after jumping from the hotel," he said.

From the video provided by Wang, shards of glass and building material littered the floor after the attack and people rushed to get downstairs. "Is there anyone left?" one person is seen on the video continually asking and trying to make sure everybody safely left the building.

The Kabul Longan Hotel is run by Chinese nationals, who rented several floors of the building and remodeled it as hotel, the Global Times learned. The hotel is currently the largest run by Chinese nationals in Afghanistan.

In addition to Chinese companies, the Xinhua News Agency's branch in Kabul and the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan, some businesspeople, vloggers, scholars and Chinese nationals who travel to Kabul for business usually choose to stay in the hotel.

An employee at China Town in Kabul surnamed Gao told the Global Times on Monday that the incident site has been locked down, but so far there have been no updates. Gao said that they have contacted the Chinese nationals living in or close to the hotel and they are all safe.

Another local coordinator in Kabul confirmed that an explosion followed by heavy gunfire were heard at the hotel, known as the "Chinese hotel" due to its popularity with diplomats and investors from China.

Video footage provided by the coordinator showed police cars with warning sirens, and a fire with large amounts of smoke could also be seen in one building.

"Unknown armed insurgents attacked a hotel in Kabul city on Monday and security personnel began operations to clean up the area," Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said earlier, according to Xinhua.

"Insurgent elements attacked a hotel in Shahr-e-Naw area of Kabul city around 2:30 pm local time today but the security forces in sharp reaction reached the area and began clean-up operations," Zadran told Xinhua.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack. There have been a number of bombing incidents in Afghanistan in recent months. On September 23, seven people were killed and 41 wounded in a bombing at a mosque in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and six others wounded in an explosion in northern Afghanistan province on December 6, according to media reports.