Friday May 24, 2013
Journalists Brave Hours of Gunfire and RPG's to Live-Tweet Taliban AttackBonnie King Salem-News.com
Mustafa Kazemi and fellow journalists survived the firefight while the world watched via Twitter.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Kabul-based journalists Mustafa Kazemi, Martin Kuz, and Ahmad Mukhtar were on the ready when they heard that Taliban insurgents armed with guns, grenades and explosives had rushed into a hotel and opened fire on guests late Thursday, as they ate dinner.
They didn’t see them coming- the assailants were dressed as women, in Burqas. Many of the people were murdered immediately, the rest were held hostage.
The news men rushed to the area. Mustafa Kazemi is a war reporter who has has covered the fighting in Afghanistan since 2010 for the AFP, DPA, and the local media.
Kazemi told the Daily News via email that the journalists took a round-about route over a hill while bullets flew around them.
He and his fellow journalists took cover by a stone wall along the lake, “When all hell broke loose. Gunshots were coming from every side," he said.
"You could not really distinguish who is who."
Spozhmai lakeside hotel and resort is in a rather remote area with little security. It is on the outskirts of Kabul near Lake Qargha, and is well known as a destination for vacationing families, tourists, and also for Afghans who just need a break from the ongoing war.
“The view is very good for relaxation,” said a hotel spokesman. “There is no alcohol."
CombatJourno, aka Mustafa Kazemi, was able to tweet updates throughout the ordeal, and shared some photographs and insight into what was happening, while he had to wonder if this would be the last story he would ever cover.
Kazemi has been using Twitter as a tool to report on his home country of Afghanistan since January 2011, according to Mashable.
The hotel was accused by the Taliban of throwing wild parties. When the assailants came into the dining room, they yelled, "Where are the prostitutes?", according to one eye witness. (There were none.)
Here are some of Mustafa Kazemi’s tweets, as the events unfolded:
12 hours later, Afghan police forces ended the rampage that killed at least 18 civilians, while other guests were traumatized by being held hostage.
All insurgents were killed, mostly by suicide. The tweets tell of one loud explosion after another, which was likely the attackers detonating their vests.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with the rationalization that the hotel had wild parties and promoted sexual behavior.
According to The Associated Press, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Taliban insurgents stormed the Spozhmai Hotel “because the guests had been drinking alcohol and engaging in other activities that are banned by Islam”.
Kabul police dismissed those reports of "immoral activity" as nothing more than "Taliban propaganda," yet the fact remains that it was enough to ignite a living hell for everyone in that hotel.
International combat forces plan to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Whether or not that will have any bearing on tragedies such as these remains to be seen.
Many thanks to Mustafa Kazemi for information in this report. Other sources: New York Daily News, Mashable, Twitter.
Follow these journalists on Twitter: Mustafa Kazemi (@combatjourno), Martin Kuz (@MartinKuz), and Ahmad Mukhtar (@AhMukhtar).
Articles for June 21, 2012 | Articles for June 22, 2012 | Articles for June 23, 2012
Use PayPal to
|Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | Copyright © 2013 Salem-News.com | news tips & press releases: email@example.com.|