Taliban militants had a gun battle with Afghanistan security forces inside a hotel close to the presidential palace in the capital city of Afghanistan on Thursday. The gun battle at the posh hotel killed nine civilians only hours after the Taliban murdered 10 police in a brazen attack east of the capital.
The attacks on Thursday came on the same day that 77 suspected fighters from the Taliban that had been captured by military forces from the West, were freed from prison.
Afghans on Friday marked the beginning of their traditional year, explosives lodged inside a fruit box exploded near southern Kandahar wounding many people, including the deputy governor, said officials.
A spokesperson from the Interior Ministry said the attacks had been part of a sabotage effort for the presidential elections set for April 5, which Taliban members said they would derail.
The minister said authorities were investigating to determine if the increased number of raids is linked to the truce between Islamabad and the Pakistani Taliban and the closure of some religious schools in Pakistan that had been used for many years as Taliban strongholds.
The Interior Minister said four armed teenagers who were disguised as guests at the Serena Hotel, entered the hotel Thursday.
A few hours afterwards, when guests at the hotel were eating dinner, the four gunmen started firing their weapons. Guards at the hotel and security forces rushed guests into a safe room, but nine were killed along with the four assailants in the gun battle.
The civilians killed included four foreigners: a female from New Zealand, a female from Canada, a male from India and a male from Pakistan.
Amongst the victims who were Afghans, was a local reporter, his wife and two children. One of their children survived by is in a coma, said the slain journalists’ brother.
Taliban members raided a local police station in Jalalaba and killed 10 officers. Seven assailants were shot and killed, wounded or killed by the explosives they were carrying.
At attack in the predawn hours started with a suicide bomber blowing up the vehicle he was in at the police station entrance. That gave six militants the ability to make it inside the police base.