NATO helicopters fired rockets at gunmen on the rooftop of a besieged Kabul hotel, ending a more than four-hour standoff between militants and police that left at least seven dead and eight others wounded, Afghan officials said. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said six suicide bombers attacked the Inter-Continental hotel frequented by Afghan officials and foreign visitors. He said two were killed by hotel guards at the beginning of the attack and four others either blew themselves up or were killed in the airstrike or by Afghan security forces.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the rare, nighttime attack in the capital—an apparent attempt to show that they remain potent despite heavy pressure from coalition and Afghan security forces. The attackers were armed with machine guns, anti-aircraft weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, and grenade launchers. Some Afghan provincial officials were among the 60 to 70 guests staying at the hotel. (Read more Afghanistan war stories.)