Afghan Special Forces ended an overnight siege at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel on Sunday, killing the last gunman from a group of three attackers who stormed the hotel, taking hostages and battling security forces for hours.
Two gunmen were killed on Saturday night. It was initially reported that four gunmen had attacked the hotel.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at least five other people had been killed and six wounded, a lower casualty total than earlier feared, while 153 people, including 41 foreigners had been evacuated.
As day broke on Sunday, thick clouds of black smoke could be seen pouring from the building. Several armoured US military vehicles with heavy machine guns could be seen close to the hotel along with Afghan police units.
The raid came just days after a US embassy warning of possible attacks on hotels in Kabul.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The raid was the latest in a long series of attacks which have underlined the city’s precarious situation and the ability of militants to mount high profile operations aimed at undermining confidence in the Western-backed government.
Hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unhurt, said the attackers had got into the main part of the hotel through a kitchen before going through the hotel.
According to one witness, who did not want to be named, the attackers took hotel staff and guests hostage.
The Intercontinental Hotel, an imposing 1960s structure set on a hilltop and heavily protected like most public buildings in Kabul, was previously attacked by Taliban fighters in 2011.
It is one of two main luxury hotels in the city and had been due to host an information technology conference on Sunday. More than 100 IT managers and engineers were on site when the attack took place, Ahmad Waheed, an official at the telecommunications ministry, said.