A four-hour siege on a luxury Kabul hotel ended early Wednesday after NATO helicopters swooped in and killed the Taliban attackers. At least six Taliban, some of them suicide bombers, were involved in the assault on the Inter-Continental hotel, which had some senior Afghan officials staying there. At least seven Afghan civilians were killed, though officials caution that the number could rise. According to authorities, at least two attackers were shot by Afghan police who stormed the hotel after the siege began, and another four blew themselves up. The attack came on the eve of a conference about the gradual transition of civil and military responsibility over to Afghanistan.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility. A spokesman told The New York Times that fighters entered the hotel “and they’ve gone through several stories of the building and they are breaking into each room and they are targeting the 300 Afghans and foreigners who are staying.” Nighttime attacks in the Afghanistan capital are said to be very rare.