An explosion and gunfire rocked Kabul after gunmen attacked a hotel housing some foreigners in Afghanistan’s capital, two Taliban sources said on Monday.
Residents of the Shahr-e-Naw neighborhood, a commercial hub where the building is situated, heard a loud explosion following the gunshots.
The attack took place in the Afghan capital at a hotel frequented by Chinese and other international officials.
Some visuals on social media, reportedly of the hotel under siege, showed a fire engulfing one of the rooms and a thick cloud of smoke emanating from the building’s roof. 1st News could not immediately verify the authenticity of the visuals.
Another unverified video showed raging gunfire in the hotel’s vicinity. Also, it is not yet clear if there have been any casualties or injuries from the attack.
The Taliban-led Afghanistan interior ministry and the Chinese embassy in Kabul have also not commented on the attack yet.
China is among the handful of nations operating a full embassy at the capital. However, it does not officially recognise the hardline Taliban regime. Kabul has also seen an influx of Chinese business officials after the Taliban returned to power in August last year.
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The attack comes amid rising tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
On Sunday, one Afghan soldier and six Pakistani civilians were killed in cross-border shelling and gunfire at the Chaman crossing that links Pakistan’s western Balochistan province with Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.
The fighting erupted after Pakistan objected to officials from Afghanistan building a new checkpoint at the border crossing. It sparked a two-hour long gun battle.
Multiple bombings and shooting attacks – some claimed to have been carried out by Isis militants – have gripped Afghanistan in recent months even as the Taliban has declared it was focusing on securing and strengthening the Islamic nation.