KABUL, Afghanistan, June 22 (UPI) -- The Taliban took responsibility for an attack late Thursday on an Afghan hotel near Kabul, saying the resort area is a prime spot for immoral behavior.
Officials said at least three gunmen entered the dining room at the Spozhmai Hotel at around 11 p.m., The New York Times reported. The room was full of families, including women and children, having dinner.
The militants took hostages, officials said. At least one Afghan police officer was killed, CNN reported.
Mohammed Wais, a waiter who managed to get out, told the Times he had heard from colleagues trapped in the hotel that a total of about 15 gunmen were involved in the attack.
On their Web site, the Taliban called the Spozhmai and other hotels in the lakeside resort 10 miles from the capital "prime places in Kabul for prostitution and parties," the Times said. The hotels are "usually used for immoral and unethical purposes both for the foreigners and their puppet colleagues," the group added.
Afghan National Army soldiers arrived at the hotel not long after midnight and began the effort to retake it with support from NATO forces.
Gen. Mohammed Zahir, head of the Kabul Criminal Investigation Division, said police and military forces were trying to avoid civilian casualties.