Afghan journalist, family among 9 killed in hotel attack

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KABUL — The luxury hotel was considered one of the safest spots in the Afghan capital. Yet four gunmen walked in, proceeded to the restaurant, and pulled out pistols hidden in their shoes. They killed nine people, including an Agence France-Presse journalist, his wife, and two of their children, who were shot in the head.

The Taliban boasted that the bold assault Thursday night shows they can strike anywhere, and Afghan officials issued a string of conflicting statements as they scrambled to explain how the attackers penetrated the Serena Hotel’s tight security.

It was a major embarrassment to government security forces less than two weeks before national elections, and follows an increase in bombings and shootings targeting foreigners in the capital, something that had been relatively rare.

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