US strongly condemns 'barbaric' attacks in Afghanistan

 

The State Department on Friday said it strongly condemned “barbaric” attacks in Afghanistan that left more than two dozen people dead or wounded, including children.

In one attack, four gunmen went on a shooting spree on Friday at the Serena Hotel in Kabul, killing nine people, including four foreigners and two children, reports say. 

The hotel is considered one of the safest places to stay in Kabul.

In Jalalabad, Taliban fighters killed at least 11 people and wounded 22 in a separate suicide bomb attack on Thursday. 

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“The U.S. Embassy strongly condemns the recent senseless acts of violence against the police station in Jalalabad and the Serena Hotel in Kabul. The perpetrators of these acts have needlessly shed the blood of both Afghans and their international partners at a time when citizens are celebrating Nowruz and preparing to vote in historic elections,” the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said in a statement.

A reporter for Agence France-Presse was killed in the attack at the Serena Hotel. 

Afghan security forces killed the four gunmen whom they identified as “government opponents,” reports say. 

“The barbaric nature of these events reminds us of the total disregard the insurgents have for human life and their fear of a free vote for the future of Afghanistan,” the U.S. Embassy said.

The violence comes just about two weeks before Afghan citizens vote in the April 5 national elections.

It is also the latest in a series of attacks the Taliban and militants have committed against foreigners and civilians in recent months.

A Swedish journalist was shot and killed by gunmen earlier this month, and the Taliban launched an attack on a Kabul restaurant in January, killing 21 people.