WASHINGTON, Jan 25, (Agencies): Four US citizens were killed and two injured in last Saturday’s attack by the Taleban on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, the US State Department said on Wednesday.
“We can confirm that there were four US citizens killed and two injured. We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and wish for the speedy recovery of those wounded,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Glenn Selig, a spokesman for Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates, was among the Americans who were killed, according to a statement from Selig’s company, Selig Multimedia. Selig represented Gates, who has been charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign.
“Glenn was in Kabul on a potential success story involving Afghanistan and its steps to battle extremism. The focus was highlighting the country’s new president and constructing a democracy forum event for Afghani women,” Selig Multimedia said. At least 25 people were killed when five gunman dressed in Afghan army uniforms stormed the Kabul hotel on Saturday night.
Seven Ukrainians and one German were among the dead. The Taleban, which attacked the same hotel in 2011, claimed responsibility for the attack, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. The health ministry official said at least 25 people had been killed, including 13 foreigners. But AFP has independently verified that 15 foreigners – seven Ukrainians, four Americans, two Venezuelans, one German and one Kazakh – died in the massacre. “We have 25 deaths from the Intercontinental Hotel attack in Kabul – seven Afghans, 13 foreigners and five suspected attackers,” health ministry spokesman Wahid Majrooh told AFP.
That was hours after he gave a different toll, telling AFP that 25 Afghans had been killed and that “we don’t know about the foreign fatalities.” An Afghan security official also said 25 people had been killed in the 12-hour attack on Saturday night but that figure included three badly burned bodies “which we believe are of foreigners”. “To be honest I am not very sure about the final death toll yet,” he said on the condition of anonymity. Adding to the confusion, the interior ministry told AFP that the official death toll still stood at 22 but suggested that figure could change in the coming days. “The fact-finding mission and investigation work will be finalised today and… the interior minister will have a press conference on Saturday where he will give the new details,” interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said. “There could be some new information and changes.” Afghan media outlets have reported significantly higher death tolls.
Tolo News previously quoted the interior ministry as saying 29 people had been killed, but also cited “reliable sources” as saying the number was around 43. Afghan officials have a long history of understating death tolls in highprofile attacks and there is widespread speculation in Kabul that the true death toll in the hotel attack is far higher than what they have said. “The government is concerned about the inevitable repercussions that this and yesterday’s attack (in Jalalabad) are going to have,” an Afghan media source told AFP. “Businesses are going to think twice about coming in, foreigners are going to leave. We have seen in the past – specifically after last year’s truck bombing and previous hotel attacks – that a lot of foreigners leave.