Quick Brief, 12 December 2022: Gunmen attack hotel in Kabul popular with Chinese and diplomatic personnel

13 December, 2022 Hotel Attacks

(Muir Analytics’ Quick Brief is broadly based on the Pentagon EXSUM briefing method. The aim is to quickly explain an evolving hotel threat issue in about 15 lines in executive summary format. Muir has added a quick analysis of the issue that can help hotels mitigate certain risks.)

Chain of events:

  1. At least three gunmen attacked the Kabul Longan Hotel in central Kabul on Monday, 12 December 2022, at 2:30 pm, reports al Jazeera.
  2. The hotel is popular with Chinese nationals and diplomats.
  3. Early reporting says there was at least one explosion and a fusillade of automatic weapons fire in the hotel, says CBS.
  4. Video of the attack shows a large fire emanating from what appears to be a 3d floor room on the east side of the hotel, smoke coming from what appears to be a 6th-floor room on the north side of the property, and thick smoke bellowing from the west side of the property.
  5. At least two people escaped the attack by jumping from the hotel’s windows.
  6. A Taliban government spokesman said the attack was contained – security forces quickly killed the three attackers, and no foreigners were killed.
  7. An Italian-run hospital says the attack killed at least three people and wounded 18, says Channel News Asia.
  8. There is speculation that Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) was responsible for the attack, says CBS.

Note: Google maps incorrectly has the hotel as just the “Kabul Logan Restaurant,” but it is actually the Longan Hotel with a restaurant in it as confirmed by more accurate sources. See here.


There are four takeaways. First, interim photographic and video analysis of the fire and smoke indicates the attackers were able to penetrate several floors of the hotel, or they were confined to lower floors, and they started fires that impacted at least one upper floor of the hotel.

Second, the supposition that ISIS-K was responsible is logical. ISIS-K is against Chinese expansion in South Asia, it is against Taliban government-Chinese cooperation, and it has staged several attacks in country in recent months. An ISIS-K suicide bomber exploded at the Russian embassy in Kabul in September, killing six, says CBS.

Third, if ISIS-K was responsible, it can be expected to continue attacks on its enemies in Afghanistan, and hotels will be targeted.

Lastly, while it is unclear if the Taliban government will increase the protection of Afghanistan’s hotels, it does have the know-how to do so. How so? According to Muir Analytics’ massive hotel violence database, before the Taliban defeated the US in Afghanistan and took over the country, it was responsible for well over 35 hotel and guesthouse attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it reportedly had a hand in an attempted bombing in New York’s Time Square next to the Marriott Marquis in 2010. The Taliban government could consult with those who planned its hotel attacks, reverse engineer those tactics, and affect security accordingly.

Sources and further reading:

Kabul hotel attack ends as three gunmen killed; two foreigners injured,” Channel News Asia, 12 December 2022.

Attack on Kabul hotel housing Chinese nationals leaves 3 assailants dead,” Voice of America, 12 December 2022.

Deadly attack on Kabul hotel popular with Chinese nationals,” Al Jazeera, 12 December 2022.

Kabul hotel used by China nationals attacked as perceived allies of Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers are targeted,” CBS News, 12 December 2022.

P R A S A D, @PrasadHSLI, twitter post, 7:24 PM, 12 December 2022, https://twitter.com/PrasadHSLI/status/1602459376820060160.

Trip.com, profile of the Longan Hotel in Kabul.

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