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The United States and Britain have warned their citizens to avoid hotels in Afghanistan, days after dozens of people were killed at a mosque in an attack claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K). The Taliban, which seized power in August and declared an Islamic emirate, is seeking international recognition and assistance to avoid a humanitarian disaster and ease Afghanistan’s economic crisis. But, as the armed group transitions from a rebel army to a governing power, it is struggling to contain the threat from ISIL’s Afghanistan chapter.
“US citizens who are at or near the Serena Hotel should leave immediately,” the US State Department said, citing “security threats” in the area. “In light of the increased risks you are advised not to stay in hotels, particularly in Kabul,” Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office added. Since the Taliban takeover, many foreigners have left Afghanistan, but some journalists and aid workers remain in the capital.
The well-known Serena Hotel, a luxury hotel popular with business travellers and foreign guests, has twice been the target of attacks by the Taliban. In 2014, just weeks before the presidential election, four teenage gunmen with pistols hidden in their socks managed to penetrate several layers of security and killed nine people, including an AFP journalist and members of his family. In 2008, a suicide bombing there left six people dead.


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