Senior United Nations officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres as well as the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have strongly condemned a terrorist attack on a hotel in the country’s capital, Kabul.
In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Secretary-General Guterres offered his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. “He expresses his solidarity with the Government and people of Afghanistan,” added the statement.
According to initial reports, at least six civilians, including one woman, were killed and at least three others injured in the attack which took place on Saturday night, local time. The actual number could be higher. The Intercontinental Hotel was scheduled to hold a technology conference on 21 January, organized by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Also at the hotel, guests had gathered for a wedding ceremony.
According to UNAMA, in claiming responsibility, the Taliban stated that five attackers entered the hotel to target Afghan officials and foreign nationals. In a separate statement, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and the head of UNAMA said that it is a “moral outrage that the Taliban entered the hotel with the intention of killing civilians.”
Underscoring the obligation on all parties to the armed conflict in the country to respect International Humanitarian Law at all times, he added: “There is simply no justification for this egregious attack, which is specifically prohibited by International Humanitarian Law and may amount to a war crime.”