- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A number of U.S. citizens were among the injured and killed during a brazen terrorist attack on a popular hotel in the Afghan capital of Kabul over the weekend, the State Department confirmed Tuesday.

Department officials declined to provide information on how many U.S. casualties were suffered during the 14-hour siege of the Hotel Intercontinental in the western part of the city. Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry reported 22 people were killed during the attack, including 14 foreigners, before counterterrorism and security forces were able to end the deadly raid.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and wish for the speedy recovery of those wounded,” the State Department said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“Out of respect for the families of the deceased, we have no further comment,” department officials added.

Also among the dead were six Ukrainians, two Venezuelan pilots for KamAir and a citizen of Kazakhstan and a citizen of Germany, The Associated Press reported.

Violence broke out at the upscale hotel on Saturday, when six armed militants outfitted with suicide vests broke through the hotel’s heavily fortified security perimeter and began moving through the building, killing and wounding guests. Afghan security forces brought the siege to an end early Sunday morning, but not before the gunmen were able to kill a number of hotel patrons.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed credit for the complex attack, the second of its kind targeting the Intercontinental in the last seven years. Afghan officials claim the attack was the work of the Pakistani-based Haqqani Network, which was responsible for the 2011 strike against the hotel.

The Trump White House has suspended millions in foreign aid and military assistance to Pakistan over its support for the Haqqani Network and other extremist militants in the region, accusing Islamabad of playing a double-game with the U.S. and its allies.

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