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Taliban militants storm resort house in Kabul, dozens killed in fighting

By Abdul Haleem, Chen Xin

KABUL, June 22, 2012 (Xinhua) --

As fierce gun battle between Taliban militants and Afghan police at a rest house in Qarga Lake, Kabul came to an end, all militants were killed. Also dead were eight others, including four civilians, three security guards and a policeman, official sources said.

Taliban militants, who have been fighting the government over the past few years and took many by surprise with their latest moves, stormed a rest house in Qarga lake, the only recreation place in the western edge of capital Kabul, late Thursday night and fought a fierce gun battle against the local police, Interior Ministry said.

"The desperate Taliban terrorists in a bid to terrorize the people, attacked a civilian hotel in Qarga lake last night, but police, in addition to retaliating the terrorists, have been trying to rescue the civilians trapped in the area," Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said.

Meantime, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit, in a statement sent to media claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Since the hotel has been used by foreigners and their Afghan puppets as entertainment place, the Mujahidin (holy warriors) of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (name of Taliban ousted regime) attacked it to punish those commit the activities forbidden in Islam," said the statement.

Foreigners and Afghans who live in the hotel used to drink alcohol and commit vulgarity to satisfy their animal lusts which are banned in Islam, the statement said.

Mujahid in the statement also insisted that a group of Taliban fighters equipped with arms including rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests entered the hotel and have killed several Afghans and foreigners including their guards, the police. Operation to eliminate the rest is continuing.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said earlier that " three terrorists have been killed and police are trying hard to rescue all the civilians caught up in the crossfire," adding that hundreds of people have been taken out from the area, 40 people have been rescued by this morning.

An eye witness at the site who declined to give his name said, "the attack began at 11:20 p.m. local time and two of my sons who worked at the Spoghmai hotel are trapped inside the hotel." Another eye witness said on condition of anonymity that he saw one police constable was killed and another injured in the firefight.

Editor: Liu

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