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21 dead as Taleban storm Kabul hotel

KABUL – Heavily armed Taleban militants stormed a top Kabul hotel, sparking a ferocious battle involving Afghan commandos and a NATO helicopter gunship that left at least 21 dead including the nine attackers. Officials said all of the gunmen were killed during the night-time raid on the hilltop Intercontinental Hotel, frequented by Westerners and Afghan officials, part of which was left in flames as tracer bullets lit up the sky. The state-owned 1960s hotel, which is not part of the global InterContinental chain, was hosting delegates attending an Afghan security conference and a large wedding party when the insurgents struck. The interior ministry said nine Afghan civilians – mostly…