Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers take positions on a hill near the Spozhmai Hotel following an attack by Taliban militants at Qargha lake on the outskirts of Kabul on June 22, 2012. Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images
Smoke rises from the hotel as NATO helicopters fly over the site of an attack on June 22, 2012. Omar Sobhani / Reuters
— Guests swam for their lives after By Cheryll Simpson, NBC News in Kabul and Reuters Taliban gunmen attacked a lakeside hotel in Afghanistan, killing at least nine people and taking 50 others hostage in a siege lasting several hours, according to reports.
At least five militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns attacked the exclusive Spozhmai hotel in the Qargha Lake recreation area around midnight local time on Thursday (3:30 p.m. ET) bursting into a private party and shooting dead hotel workers.
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Smoke rises from the Spozhmai Hotel following an attack by Taliban militants on June 22, 2012. Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images
ANA soldiers run for cover during the hotel attack on June 22, 2012. Omar Sobhani / Reuters
More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts. Ahmad Jamshid / AP