Karzai: Attack on hotel won’t derail security transfer

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Guests and visitors must pass through a roadblock and guards posted at the bottom of a hill that winds up to the building, then another checkpoint along the road before reaching the hotel, where more security guards are set up in a building with metal detectors.

“We believe that there was a loophole in the security,” Mr. Mashal said. “So far, we don’t know how they infiltrated. The intelligence service and the Ministry of Interior will jointly investigate this. We do have a few clues.”

The Inter-Continental — known widely as the “Inter-Con” — opened in the late 1960s and was the nation’s first international luxury hotel. It has at least 200 rooms and was once part of an international chain. But when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the hotel was left to fend for itself.

It was used by Western journalists during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Twenty-two rockets hit the Inter-Con between 1992 and 1996, when factional fighting convulsed Kabul under the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani. All the windows were broken, water mains were damaged, and the outside structure was pockmarked. Some, but not all, of the damage was repaired during Taliban rule.

Attacks in the Afghan capital have been relatively rare, although violence has increased since the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Pakistan and the start of the Taliban’s annual spring offensive.

On June 18, insurgents wearing Afghan army uniforms stormed a police station near the presidential palace and opened fire on officers, killing nine.

Late last month, a suicide bomber wearing an Afghan police uniform infiltrated the main Afghan military hospital, killing six medical students. A month before that, a suicide attacker in an army uniform sneaked past security at the Afghan Defense Ministry, killing three people.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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