All the guests and staff at the Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, are safe after gunmen attacked the building, an official claimed.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on the luxury hotel which is home to many United Nations staff and foreign delegations who are in the country ahead of next month's presidential election.
Two or three gunmen entered the luxury Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan by a back door and opened fire wounding two people, security sources told Reuters.
One person, who was taken to safety along with other guests, said the shooting appeared to begin in the hotel restaurant. Another guest told the news agency he could hear sporadic gunfire.
The hotel, which was attacked in 2008 by a suicide bomber claiming six lives, is considered the safest place to stay in Kabul and is home to many United Nations staff and foreign delegations ahead of next month's presidential election.
A luxury hotel in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul, which is home to many United Nations staff and foreign delegations ahead of next month's elections, has been attacked by gunmen, a guest told Reuters.
The woman, who was taken to safety along with other guests, said that the shooting appeared to start in the restaurant at Serena hotel.
An eyewitness told Reuters how the Kabul blast "shook the whole area".
Shkaib Sarwari said: "A suicide attack happened in a Lebanese restaurant, which shook the whole area and then gunfire started. We were very scared and when I came out all I could see was security forces around the area."
Another eyewitness, Gul Agha, told Bloomberg Businessweek that the explosion shattered windows of Norway's and other nearby embassies. The initial blast was so forceful that it was heard miles away.
The Lebanese restaurant, Taverna du Liban, was targeted during a busy time when many of the neighbourhood's Western aid workers, journalists and other expatriates were dining out.
The restaurant was lacking in common security measures, such as cement blast walls and checkpoints blocking off the street.
The bombing was the third in the Afghan capital in under two weeks.
Kabul police chief Gen. Zahir Zahir has told ITV News that 16 people have been killed in the Afghan capital bomb attack, including 13 foreigners, while four U.N. employees who "could have been present in close proximity to the attack" remain "unaccounted for", the Associated Press has reported.
Gen. Zahir Zahir also confirmed that five people had been wounded.
A police official at the scene of a car bomb explosion and gunfire in the Afghanistan capital, Kabul, said insurgents "entered" the targeted international compound housing military contractors.
First there was an explosion in front of Green Village which destroyed two or three vehicles belonging to foreign forces, and after that a number of insurgents entered inside the compound, fighting Afghan forces.