InterContinental Hotel, Kabul
The Inter-Continental is a three star hotel located in the Kârte Parwân
Karte Parwan
Kārte Parwān is a neighbourhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, and home to the Sikh Gurdwara Karte Parwan and Sheerno Junior High. The area is the centre of the Afghan Hindu and Afghan Sikh communities....

 neighbourhood in western Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. It served as the nation's first international luxury hotel, one of the most visited by foreigners since its opening in 1969. The hotel has 200 rooms and is equipped with a swimming pool, a gym, and about four restaurants for dine in or room service.

The hotel was assaulted by suicide bombers in June 2011, resulting in at least 21 deaths (9 of which were Taliban or Haqqani attackers) and severe fire damage to the hotel roof.


Construction started on the hotel in April 1967 and was opened for business on 9 September 1969. While originally developed by the InterContinental Hotels Group
InterContinental Hotels Group
InterContinental Hotels Group plc is a global hotels company headquartered in Denham, United Kingdom. It is the largest hotels company in the world measured by rooms , and has over 4,500 hotels across over 100 countries...

 and built by Taylor Woodrow
Taylor Woodrow
Taylor Woodrow was one of the largest British housebuilding and general construction companies. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but merged with rival George Wimpey to create Taylor Wimpey on 3 July 2007.-Early years:Frank Taylor was...

 construction from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the Inter-Continental Hotel has had no association with InterContinental Hotels Group since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It continues to use the name and logo without connection to the parent company.

During the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

, it was used as officers quarters and during the 1990s civil war it began receiving damage due to street warfare by militia men. In 1996, only 85 of the hotel's 200 rooms were habitable due to damage from rockets and shells. It was extensively used by western journalists during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 in 2001 as it was the only large-sized hotel still operating in the capital at the time.

In 2003 the hotel pool had no water and the gym was missing all of its furniture. The hotel had several power cuts per day. There were still bullet holes throughout the building, including the windows of the restaurant on the first floor. The furniture in the rooms was simple but clean. In February 2003, a British intelligence agent Colin Berry who had been involved in the recovery of surface-to-air missile
Surface-to-air missile
A surface-to-air missile or ground-to-air missile is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles...

s and other covert operations was involved in a gun battle in the hotel. As a result two Afghans were killed.

The hotel went through a $25 million renovation in the mid 2000s by a Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 based company. It is the landmark used at the start of the Hash House Harriers
Hash House Harriers
The Hash House Harriers is an international group of non-competitive running, social and drinking clubs...

 weekly events. Today, the rooms are decorated according to international standard, equipped with air conditioner, heater
A heater is an object that emits heat or causes another body to achieve a higher temperature. In a household or domestic setting, heaters are usually appliances whose purpose is to generate heating...

, TV, mini-bar
A mini-bar is a small, private snack and beverage bar often found in upscale Western-style hotel rooms.-Overview:Typically, a mini-bar comes in the form of a counter and small refrigerator stocked with a precise inventory. The room's guests can take a beverage or snack at any time during their stay...

, phone and radio. English, German and French TV channels are also available. It has an internet cafe
Internet cafe
An Internet café or cybercafé is a place which provides internet access to the public, usually for a fee. These businesses usually provide snacks and drinks, hence the café in the name...

 located in the basement. The telephone system is still operated by its original old manual switchboard, which was manufactured by Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...


2011 attack

On June 28, 2011 an attack claimed by the Taliban by armed suicide bombers
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

, and an ensuing 5-hour siege left at least 21 people dead, including all 9 attackers.

Sixty to seventy guests were believed to be staying at the hotel at the time of the attacks. Thirty provincial government officials were staying at the hotel to attend a briefing about the transition of security responsibilities from the U.S. Military to the Afghan security forces. Most of the hotel's guests were in the hotel's dining hall at the time of the attack. Initial reports suggested that a wedding party may also have been hosted in one of the dance halls.

The attackers passed three security checkpoints and made their way to the rear of the hotel under concealment of thick vegetation. The assault on the hotel began at 10:00 p.m. local time armed with assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

s, hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

s, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s, and anti-aircraft weapons. Armed Afghan law enforcement personnel fled the area and failed to engage the attackers. Nine attackers were captured on surveillance camera entering through the rear hotel garden where only two guards were stationed during a dinner for hotel guests. Suicide vests were detonated at the entrance to the hotel and on the second floor. Two dance halls were destroyed in the initial attack. The attackers then proceed to ascend to the fifth floor. Exchanges of weapon fire between law enforcement occurred until the early morning hours.

Hotel guests were told to barricade themselves in their rooms. Others escaped by jumping from the hotel's windows. Civilians were instructed by security forces to stay in their homes. One civilian observed a militant sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

 firing and rapidly adjusting his position to avoid counter fire.

Entry forces ascended the first two floors killing a militant in the process. The security forces attempted to disarm the explosive vest the attacker was wearing. The attackers took up firing positions on the hotel roof when the fight entered its climactic end. Three combatants on the hotel roof were attacked by two of three circling NATO helicopters. The militant may have been killed in the strike or may have detonated their vests. One U.S. Blackhawk helicopter carried International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 (ISAF) snipers while an MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

 provided critical aerial surveillance. Afghan policemen could not be coaxed by police chief, Mohammad Ayoub Salangi to enter the building after the attackers were killed. At one point, an Afghan intelligence official informed the press that it believed it had eliminated all but one militant. One injured suicide bomber hid in a hotel room and ambushed a Spanish pilot after the declared conclusion of operations.

Among the wounded were five Afghan policemen and thirteen civilians. Five hotel staff including one hotel security guard and a hotel chef, and three policemen were killed. Electricity to the hotel was restored after the end of military operations, and a scheduled briefing on the transition of security responsibilities from the U.S. Military to the Afghan security forces proceeded the next day.

Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid
Zabiullah Mujahid
Zabiullah Mujahid is one of the self proclaimed spokesmen for the Taliban who is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan. He has acted as a media conduit between the isolationist rebel forces and Western media teams. He was interviewed with his back towards the TV camera in early 2009 by CNN reporter...

 claimed Taliban responsibility for the attack and lauded the militants that killed "dozens of the foreign and local top-level officials". The Long War Journal reported that the attack was carried out by the "Kabul Attack Network". According to the Journal the network is an ad-hoc organization with insurgents and operatives from Afghan and Pakistani Taliban groups, the Haqqani network, Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and with support from Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad...

 and al Qaeda. The network is led by Dawood (also spelled Daud), the Taliban's shadow governor for Kabul, and Taj Mir Jawad, a leader in the Haqqani network. The Journal states that the organization is sometimes assisted by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...


ISAF may refer to:* International Sailing Federation, the world governing body for Olympic and other competitive sailing.* International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led security mission operating in Afghanistan since 2001....

 believes that the operation was supplied by the Haqqani network
Haqqani network
The Haqqani Network is an insurgent group fighting against US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan. Originating from Afghanistan during the mid-1970s, it was nurtured by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence during the 1980s Soviet war in...

. Ismail Jan, Deputy to the senior Haqqani commander, was killed in an airstrike in Paktia province
Paktia Province
Paktia , is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the east of the country. Its capital is Gardez. The population is predominantly Pashtun.- History:...

 which borders Pakistan's FATA a day after the attack.

External links

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