State Department: ‘Multiple American citizens’ were killed in weekend attack at Kabul hotel

Smoke billows from the Intercontinental Hotel after the attack. (CNN)

KABUL, Turkey — Multiple American citizens were among those killed and injured during a weekend siege at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, Fox News and the Associated Press report.

The exact number of Americans killed and injured were not immediately released by the official who requested anonymity, the Associated Press reported.

At least 22 people were killed when Taliban militants in suicide vests stormed the hotel in the Afghan capital in Saturday. Officials initially said 18 people were dead.

The Afghan interior ministry official said 14 of those killed were foreigners and eight were Afghans. At least 11 people who died were employees of KamAir, a private Afghan airline, Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said on Sunday.

More than 150 people were forced to flee the building while parts of the structure caught on fire. Some people were seen escaping the building by climbing down tied-together bedsheets from the upper-floor windows. Afghan forces rescued the other people.

Vassilis Vassileiou, a Greek Kam Air pilot in the hotel during the attack, said he cut a mattress open and hid inside it.

“They were first killing Westerners and then laughing at the dead,” said Vassileiou, according to Reuters. “I was constantly hearing shouts, shots and bangs on the doors.”

The State Department said the United States is sending “deepest condolences” to the families and friends of those killed and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.