China urges citizens to leave Afghanistan after Kabul attack

Daesh group claims responsibility for the assault, which left three attackers dead and two foreigners injured as they tried to escape by jumping out of a window


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A hotel building sits charred after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday. — AP
A hotel building sits charred after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday. — AP

Published: Tue 13 Dec 2022, 6:06 PM

China on Tuesday advised its citizens in Afghanistan to leave the country “as soon as possible," following a coordinated attack by Daesh militants the previous day on a Chinese-owned hotel in the heart of Kabul.

The Chinese advisory appeared to be a setback for Afghanistan's Taliban rulers who seek foreign investments in hopes of halting the downward spiral of the Afghan economy since their takeover of the country more than a year ago.

The militant Daesh group — a key rival of the Taliban — claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday afternoon on Kabul Longan Hotel, which left three assailants dead and at least two hotel guests injured as they tried to escape by jumping out of a window.

Plumes of smoke rose from the 10-story building in the central Shar-e Naw neighbourhood, according to images posted on social media as the attack unfolded. Residents reported explosions and gunfire.

Taliban forces rushed to the area and blocked all roads leading to the site. Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said the attack lasted several hours, followed by a clean-up operation.

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called the attack “egregious in nature” and said China was “deeply shocked.”

Beijing demanded a “thorough investigation” and urged the Taliban government “to take resolute and strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens, institutions and projects in Afghanistan,” Wang said.

The Chinese Embassy in Kabul sent its team to the site to help with the rescue, treatment and accommodations for the victims of the attack, Wang added.

“In view of the current security situation in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again advised Chinese citizens and institutions in Afghanistan to evacuate from Afghanistan as soon as possible,” Wang said.

Chinese firms have tentatively sought to pursue opportunities in exploiting Afghanistan’s vast, undeveloped resource deposits, especially the Mes Aynak mine that is believed to hold the world’s largest copper deposit.

In October, Taliban-appointed government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid highlighted China as a key part of Afghanistan’s economic development. China has also revealed its aspirations to play a leading role in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US forces — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a regional conference recently led calls for the United States to unfreeze Afghan assets held abroad and end sanctions on the Taliban government.

The Daesh statement, carried by one of the militant Telegram channels used by the group, said two of its members targeted the hotel because it is frequented by diplomats and owned by “communist China."

It further claimed Daesh attackers detonated two bags with explosives that were left in the hotel earlier, including one in the main hall, and set fire to a part of the hotel. The militant group offered no proof for its claims.

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