Taliban kill at least 18 in hotel attack

Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, said in a statement that the attack appears to have come from the Haqqani network, a group that operates primarily out of Pakistan. The latest battle is likely to add to growing pressure over Pakistan’s efforts — or lack thereof — to stop militants from launching attacks in Afghanistan from Pakistan.

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“Afghan National Security Forces and coalition military sources acknowledge that this attack bears the signature of the Haqqani network, which continues to target and kill innocent Afghans and blatantly violate Afghan sovereignty from the safety of Pakistan,” Allen said in a statement.

Allen said that U.S. and coalition forces provided “minimal support” to the Afghans at their request as they battled the Taliban gunmen.

Attacks originating out of Pakistan from the Haqqani network are one of the biggest concerns among U.S. military officials as U.S. troops draw down and prepare to hand off security control to the Afghans in 2014.

They’ve also been one of many points of tension between the United States and Pakistan as Islamabad has kept the NATO supply line into Afghanistan closed for months.

Fourteen Afghan civilians, three security guards and one Afghan police officer died in the attack, according to the AP, citing a Kabul police official.