A hotel catering for foreign visitors in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, was attacked on Monday and three of the assailants were killed, a Taliban official said.
Two foreign residents were injured when they jumped out of windows to escape, said Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban government’s spokesman.
Residents reported explosions and gunfire, and photos and video posted on social media showed smoke rising from the building.
The Emergency Hospital in Kabul said in a tweet that there was an explosion and gunfire near a hotel approximately a kilometre away: “So far, we have received 21 casualties – 3 were already dead on arrival.”
Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, said the attack lasted several hours, and that a “clean-up” operation is continuing.
No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but the regional affiliate of the Islamic State group – known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province and a rival of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban – has increased its attacks since the Taliban takeover of the country last year.
Another local resident told the AP that a gun battle was still going on.
He said he and his family were staying inside their home, which is about three streets away from the attack site.
Taliban forces rushed to the area and blocked all roads leading to the site, said Mr Zadran, the police chief’s spokesman.