On the surface, the Taliban’s audacious attack on the was a failure. After some six hours of fighting overnight, all eight assailants who managed to penetrate the hotel’s heavy security and who were wearing suicide vests and carrying automatic rifles and rocket propelled grenades were dead. The last three were killed as dawn was breaking on the hotel’s rooftop by two U.S. helicopter gunships firing machine guns, causing the insurgents’ explosive-laden vests to explode in balls of fire. There were no hostages. None of the 60 to 70 guests staying in the one-time luxury hotel were injured as most had locked themselves in their rooms. Guests at a wedding reception and diners in the restaurant and at a poolside barbecue escaped unharmed by clambering down the slope of the pine-tree studded hill on which the landmark hotel sits. Ten others—eight hotel staff and two policemen—died in the fighting.
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