Skip to main content

Afghanistan attack: AFP reporter among 9 dead in Kabul hotel

By Laura Smith-Spark and Saad Abedine, CNN
updated 8:42 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • AFP says staff reporter Sardar Ahmad is among those killed in an attack on a Kabul hotel
  • His wife and two of his children were also among the nine who died, news agency says
  • Police say four teenagers with pistols carried out the attack in the Serena Hotel

(CNN) -- A staff reporter for the Agence France-Presse news agency, his wife and two of his three children were among nine civilians killed in an attack on a hotel in the Afghan capital, the news agency said Friday.

The incident began when four teenagers entered the Serena Hotel in central Kabul on Thursday and started shooting randomly, according to police.

AFP said journalist Sardar Ahmad started working for the news agency in 2003 and went on to become its senior reporter in Kabul, "covering all aspects of life, war and politics in his native country" and specializing in security issues. He also founded the Kabul Pressistan private news agency, AFP said.

The hotel was hosting special celebrations at the time of the attack to mark the eve of the Persian New Year, or Nowruz, AFP said. Nowruz is a major holiday in Afghanistan.

Packing up, shippping out of Afghanistan
Was reporter killed in targeted attack?

Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, the deputy interior minister, said Thursday that those killed included Afghans and foreigners, children and adults. Six people were also injured.

Afghan security forces killed the four gunmen, who police said were under 18 and were "government opponents."

Police said they believe the gunmen entered the hotel by smuggling small pistols in their shoes and then hid in the bathroom for several hours before launching their attack.

The hotel also was the site of a shooting, in January 2008, that killed seven people. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.

Thursday's attack was the latest to claim the lives of foreigners in the Afghan capital. This month, gunmen shot and killed a Swedish journalist. In January, a bomb and gun attack by the Taliban on a restaurant in Kabul killed 21 people, most of them foreigners.

Earlier Thursday, in eastern Afghanistan, Taliban militants stormed a police station in Jalalabad, the country's Interior Ministry said.

At least 11 people were killed and 22 were injured in the ensuing gunbattle, and at least six attackers were killed, according to a doctor at the hospital.

The militant group has threatened to carry out attacks before next month's presidential election.

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said fighters will "continue to attack the pro-U.S. Afghan establishment."

Canada pulls out of Kabul as NATO winds down Afghan operations

Suicide blast rips through bazaar in northern Afghanistan

CNN's Ed Payne contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT