Nine people, including a journalist, killed in an Afghanistan restaurant-hotel


Taliban gunmen had tiny pistols. They went past the Serena hotel’s heavy security cordon and waited for the restaurant to fill up for an Afghan New Year dinner before emerging to shoot diners. Nine people were killed, including the popular journalist Sardar Ahmad, 40 years old, of Agence France-Presse, his wife and two daughters. All the Taliban gunmen were finally shot dead, interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Afghan special forces fought the gunmen for hours and the terrified guests barricaded themselves in darkened rooms. Later, a bomb attack in the southerly Kandahar province wounded the deputy governor and left his chief of staff in critical condition.
The Islamist Taliban movement intensified its violent actions to create panic and disrupt the vote. Only in this week they killed at least 11 people in the eastern city of Jalalabad, while 18 were killed by a bomb in a marketplace in northern Afghanistan.
After the death of Sardar Ahmad, the journalism family in Afghanistan, in a collective decision, has decided to boycott coverage of news related to the Taliban for a period of 15 days, refraining from broadcasting any information that could further the Taliban’s claimed purpose of terror. The group is made up of more than 50 journalists representing Afghan and international media outlets, including ABC News.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai offered his personal condolences for Ahmad’s death.


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