A group of hostages taken by Taliban militants in an attack on a hotel near Kabul have been freed after a gun battle that went on for hours. Several people have been killed.
Afghan security forces freed several civilians on Friday morning after a battle with Taliban attackers who overran a lakeside hotel near the capital.
No final information on civilian, police or militant deaths was immediately available, police said, although they earlier said at least 10 people had been killed.
The full number of casualties on both sides was unclear. Kabul police said the attack triggered a several-hour battle, and that Taliban gunmen had been holding several hostages, including women and children.
The insurgents had been armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility, saying wealthy Afghans and foreigners used the hotel to have wild parties in the lead-up to the Friday religious day holiday.
The attack came just hours after President Hamid Karzai told parliament that attacks on security forces had increased in recent months, claiming that 20 to 25 Afghan soldiers were being killed each day.
rg/mkg (AP, AFP, Reuters)