Kabul: Gunmen stormed a guesthouse in the Afghan capital as it hosted a party for foreigners, and authorities said five people, including Indians, were killed during hourlong siege that ended early Thursday morning.
Six people were wounded and 54 hostages rescued.
At least two Indian nationals were among those killed and three who had lived at the guest house were rescued and sheltering at the Indian Embassy, a diplomat said.
Amar Sinha, India's ambassador to Afghanistan, said he believed at least six of the hostages were Indian citizens. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Twitter account said he was "concerned about the situation (and) I pray for everyone's safety."
Kabul police chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the attack began at 8:30 p.m. local time Wednesday, when gunmen opened fire at the restaurant of the Park Palace Hotel. He had no breakdown on the nationalities of the victims, but a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said an American was among the dead.
Throughout the standoff, sporadic gunfire echoed around the guesthouse in a central neighborhood that is home to United Nations compounds and a foreign-run hospital. At one point two explosions could be heard and four ambulances later arrived to the scene.
Hours after the standoff began, fire trucks arrived at the scene, with firefighters saying they were called in to clear and secure the area. A number of people were seen leaving the building.
Earlier Wednesday, police officers freed some 20 people trapped in the guesthouse, but others had remained inside, according to Zia Massoud, an Afghan government official.
The hotel has both guest rooms for visitors and a residential area for those who live full time in Kabul, including foreign aid workers.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though the Taliban have attacked guesthouses before in Kabul.
Afghan security forces have been struggling to fend off Taliban attacks since U.S. and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of last year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was on his way to a three day visit to China at the time of attack, condemned the attack and tweeted, ""In the aircraft I got news about the attack in Kabul. Am concerned about the situation & I pray for everyone's safety."
(With inputs from agencies)