Pakistan rejects 'knee-jerk allegations' of Kabul hotel attack

Smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel during an attack in Kabul Afghanistan

Attackers armed with guns and hand grenades seized guests at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital.

Dramatic images broadcast on Afghanistan's Tolo News showed thick black smoke and flames billowing from the top floor of the hotel.

Security has been tightened in the city since a truck bomber killed at least 150 people outside the German embassy in May.

Four gunmen burst into the hotel on Saturday night, opening fire on guests and staff and taking dozens of people hostage, including foreigners.

All five attackers were killed during gunfight with Afghan security forces, and Taliban militant group later claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attackers were eventually killed.

"We are hiding in our rooms".

Ten people were also wounded in the raid, including six security officers and four civilians, according to Danish.

His phone was switched off when AFP tried to him again.

Read alsoNumber of Ukrainians killed in attack on Kabul's hotel grows to six - Foreign minister Klimkin " I have instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urgently send the Ukrainian Consul from Dushanbe to Kabul to carry out the appropriate consular operations.

"Some other guests have been rescued".

Security forces went "room-by-room" before formally declaring the building cleared of suspects, he added.

Nasrat Rahimi, a deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, had said earlier that foreigners were among the dead, but did not provide details on the nationalities of the victims.

According to Tillerson, Washington is in contact with Afghan authorities regarding their investigation into the attack.

One guest, Aziz Tayeb, who hid behind a pillar, said: "I saw people who were enjoying themselves a second ago screaming and fleeing like insane, and some of them falling down, hit by bullets". Some of the victims were government employees preparing to attend a technology conference that was to begin Sunday.

"There were 40 of them in the hotel".

It's not known whether any Americans were among those killed. At the entrance to the building there was a physical inspection that could be easily evaded by scaling a low-level barrier and entering the lobby.

It was too late for one of them: the interior ministry confirmed at least one person involved in the conference was among the dead. No group has yet claimed that attack.

At least two senior Afghan officials said the country's intelligence agency had received reports that the Haqqani network, a particularly brutal arm of the Taliban, had planned the attack.

The airline connects parts of the country where travel by road is increasingly impossible, flying decrepit planes that sometimes bear the marks of their many previous lives: exit signs in Swahili; emergency instructions in Russian.

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