HERAT: Four Afghan security forces were killed Saturday when Taliban insurgents attacked a hotel, officials said, as violence continues across Afghanistan despite US-led efforts to end the war.
The assault took place in Qala-i-Naw, the capital of the western province of Badghis, when attackers struck a commercial area housing the hotel and several shops in the small city. “We had intelligence reports that suicide bombers were planning to attack Qala-i-Naw,” Badghis governor Abdul Ghafoor Malikzai said. “The attackers took over a building near the governor´s office and police headquarters”.
The defence ministry said three attackers were killed and two more arrested. Four members of the Afghan security forces were killed and 20 people wounded, including civilians, the ministry said.
The hotel assault started around 12:40 pm when a group of men, some wearing suicide vests, stormed the area. Aziz Bek, the head of the Badghis provincial council, said that children had been evacuated from nearby schools, and that explosions could be heard in the city.
According to Abdul Latif Rostaee, the local director of public health, 18 were wounded, including six civilians. Nasrat Rahimi, an interior ministry spokesman, earlier said a group of suicide bombers had entered a hotel and were shooting civilians. The attackers first hit a police checkpoint and then entered the hotel, according to Haroon Amir, a witness.
Meanwhile a US service member was killed in action in Afghanistan on Saturday, Nato said, in a Taliban-claimed attack that comes as America tries to forge a peace deal with the insurgents. The soldier is the 10th member of the US military to be killed this year — compared to 12 in all of 2018.