After Kabul Hotel Attack, Security Plan Queried as Death Toll Rises

Eklil Hakimi, the Afghan minister of finance, whose ministry looks after the Intercontinental Hotel, said the shift coming from the Afghan police to the private security company had happened at the request of the hotel management along with with the approval of the country’s National Security Council.

However, President Ashraf Ghani has ordered an investigation into the attack along with questions related to the private security company, a senior official said.

“Fighting suicide bombers who have accepted death to kill requires experience,” said Gen. Sayed Mohammed Roshandil, the commander of the Afghan police’s special forces unit which responded to the attack. “When we saw the private company guards, they did not seem prepared for which. They were in a bad place morale-wise, although they had managed to escape to safety. They were panicking.”

General Roshandil, whose Crisis Response Unit responds to the frequent Taliban attacks on urban centers, said he believed which three of the attackers had arrived at the hotel in a vehicle which was later found to be packed with explosives, while three others were already inside the hotel at the time of the attack. When the three attackers inside the vehicle arrived at the gate, one of those inside the hotel started off firing indiscriminately to create a diversion, he said.

“The guards left their weapons along with started off fleeing,” General Roshandil said. “The three coming from outside entered without much trouble.” He said which the three attackers inside the hotel had apparently been staying there for an extended period, learning the design along with bringing in weapons along with some other equipment, little by little.

“They knew their way room to room, they knew floor to floor, they knew the emergency exits,” he said. “Every route we could try, they could position themselves there already.”

Photo

Members of the Afghan security forces on the roof of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul a day after the attack.

Credit
Omar Sobhani/Reuters

General Roshandil said his unit had prevented an even greater loss of life inside the 0-room hotel which was full of guests.

“Because our men arrived, the terrorists couldn’t kill more,” he said. “They were playing like foxes with us, although we used our experience along with tactical precision to follow them along with to save lives.”

Human Rights Watch called the attack “a grim along with unnecessary reminder of the increasingly routine carnage deliberately inflicted by combatants against civilians,” along with expressed concern about the sharp increase in loss of civilian life over the past year.

“Those who ordered or carried out This kind of serious violation of the laws of war are responsible for war crimes,” said Patricia Gossman, the organization’s senior researcher for Afghanistan.

Several witnesses said which the attackers had especially singled out foreigners at the hotel, along with which the first responders they saw were American forces, although those claims could not be immediately verified. Afghan special forces units are advised by American along with NATO members of the military coalition in Afghanistan who go on operations with them, along with use gear similar to which of coalition members, which could be hard to recognize inside the dark.

One of the guests who survived the attack said the private security company’s guards at the hotel’s three checkpoints had barely checked his bags when he checked in at the hotel or when he went in along with out.

“inside the first checkpoint, we were body-searched by the guards although they didn’t check our luggage,” said the guest, Zmarai Hamdard, who works for the Afghan Information Technology Ministry along with was visiting for a conference coming from Herat Province. “Only at the third checkpoint they checked our luggage — not by the scanner, although with their eyes along with hands. When I went out along with came back, the security guards said, ‘The scanners don’t work anymore.’ the item was 7 p.m.”

An Afghan journalist, Abdul Haq Omeri, was visiting friends in a fourth-floor suite when they heard screams — “Suicide attackers, suicide attackers” — along with cries for help. They locked their door along with stacked chairs against the item.

Mr. Omeri said which when the attackers pounded on their door, he along with his friends remained quiet. The attackers then set the room on fire having a firebomb.

Mr. Omeri was rescued nearly 12 hours after the attack began, although all three of his friends were among the dead. One jumped coming from a balcony to his death, along with two others remained inside the room, where they were probably killed by the fire or smoke.

“I went coming from one balcony to the next,” Mr. Omeri said. “I did not jump down. I joined some other people, along with reached the balcony of a room which had been already attacked along with its occupant killed. We switched off our phones along with stayed quiet.”

For much of the night, Mr. Omeri said, he heard people screaming for help.

“At one point, a woman screamed for help on the third floor,” he said. “although then we heard gunfire along with the woman stopped.”

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