Eighteen people were killed yesterday when Taliban insurgents attacked a Qargha Lake Area Hotel north of Kabul in Afghanistan. The nighttime attack on the popular Spozhmai Hotel resulted in a hostage situation involving women and children. The operatives used a combination of tactics including machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and explosive-laden vests to penetrate the hotel. The methodology of the attack appears to have closely followed the tactics of a recent attack on the InterContinental Hotel in the same region.
Hotels are soft targets that have been the focus of numerous militant attacks worldwide. Insurgents were able to gain access to the hotel by killing the security guards and storming the dining area, where they opened fire. Hotel restaurants and lobbies are particularly vulnerable to attacks as they are easily accessible to the public and are typically hubs of activity. The location of the incident is symbolic as the Taliban views the hotel as a place where foreigners partake in "immoral activity," such as drinking alcohol. The Taliban is also sending a message to the international community that they are still capable of executing major offensives in the shadow of the capital and seat of the Afghan government.