Aid workers escape Taliban Kabul siege

City is already on high alert ahead of the 5 April vote

Kabul

Taliban gunmen stormed a Kabul guesthouse used by a US-based aid group and held four foreigners hostage for several hours on Friday, just eight days before Afghanistan holds a presidential election, which the militant group has vowed to derail.

Kabul is already on high alert and people across the country are on edge ahead of the 5 April vote the hard-line Islamist movement denounces as a Western-backed sham.

The siege of the walled compound, which is also home to a small church, lasted several hours before Afghan security forces killed the last remaining Taliban gunman holed up inside.

At least one Afghan child was killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the building and insurgents forced their way in. There were no casualties among foreigners.

A witness told Reuters they saw about 20 people being evacuated from the guesthouse in an upmarket residential area of Kabul, many looking frightened and shocked.

“The fight is over. The five attackers are dead,” Qadam Shah Shaheem, commander of 111 Military Corps Kabul, said.

The manager of an organisation using the guesthouse said four people had been held hostage as their colleagues made frantic phone calls to establish if they were alive.

“I can confirm it was attacked and that there are only four people (inside),” said Hajji Mohammad Sharif Osmani, country manager of Roots of Peace, a US-based group involved in mine clearance and other projects in Afghanistan. “The rest of the guys are outside.”

The attack was a chilling reminder to Afghan voters and foreigners of the kind of assault the Taliban is capable of mounting in the heavily guarded capital after its leaders ordered fighters to disrupt the election.

Violence has spiralled in Afghanistan in recent weeks, with almost daily explosions and gunfights around the country.

Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked an election commission office in Kabul on Tuesday, and last week, nine people including an AFP journalist and an election observer were killed in an attack on a highly fortified hotel.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project