Taliban gunmen attack hotel Serena in Kabul

An eye witness claimed that the shooting started in the hotel's restaurant

Two people were wounded when four Taliban gunmen opened fire in a luxury hotel in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul at around 6pm, according to police.

There were no details yet on the nationality of the pair.

Security sources said that the armed men entered the Serena hotel by a back door and told them they were going to dinner.

To enter the premises, guests must pass through an exterior gate and undergo a metal detector search and pat down.

Inside, they drew the pistols hidden in their socks and opened fire, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

Bursts of gunfire could be heard from outside the hotel as Afghan troops cordoned off the area.

A hotel worker named Gulam Ali said that all the guests and staff members had taken refuge in the basement. 

"Everybody's fine," he told his brother Mohammed Nabil, who let an Associated Press reporter listen to the conversation. "Foreigners, workers, everybody is in the basement."

One person who was taken to safety along with other guests said that the shooting appeared to begin in the hotel restaurant.

Another guest, hiding in his room, said he could hear sporadic gunfire.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault on the Serena hotel.

"Our people, if they decide to attack any place, they can do it," he said.

United Nations staff and foreign delegations are currently staying at the hotel ahead of next month's Presidential elections, as it is considered to be the safest place to stay in the capital.

Also on Thursday, the Taliban let off a suicide bomb at a police station in Jalalabad , killing 10 officers and a university student.

The attacks come after the Taliban threatened to use violence to the disrupt 5 April elections.

The polls include provincial votes, but the most closely watched is the presidential race. Karzai's successor will guide the country for the next five years as most US and allied forces leave the country by the end of 2014.

Additional reporting by Reuters and AP

Read more: As Nato quits Afghanistan, new violence threatens the country's presidential electio
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
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