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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 19:36 GMT
Eyewitness: Carnage in Kabul hotel
The Taleban have carried out an audacious attack on the main luxury hotel for foreign visitors in Kabul. There are conflicting accounts of what exactly happened.

A Western medic who wishes to remain anonymous and who arrived at the scene of the blast shortly after it occurred told the BBC News website about the carnage that greeted the medical team.

A guard at the Serena Hotel
Many foreign workers stay at the Serena hotel in Kabul

After we got the call that there had been an incident, I went with a small team of medics to the Serena Hotel.

We crossed the courtyard and upstairs in the hotel we found one patient, a diplomat from the UAE who had a gunshot wound in the abdomen. He was fine, he was stable, alert and awake.

After we put him in the back of our ambulance, we got a call saying that there were more patients at the front entrance of the hotel.

We went round and immediately upon exiting the vehicle there was a dead guard laying in the middle of the road. Nobody had removed him yet. I checked his vitals and pronounced him dead.

Our next task was to work on the other survivors in the courtyard of the hotel itself. Once the lobby was secure, once security had determined that there were no attackers left in the building, we moved inside and carried on our work.

I was working on a woman who was badly injured.

'Charred flesh'

It was very dark and because they had cordoned off the area around the hotel, it was very quiet. There was charred flesh all over the courtyard - it was clear there had been a suicide bomber there.

We were told that there were four insurgents, one was shot in the lobby, one detonated himself in the courtyard, one detonated himself on the roof and the fourth had escaped.

Intelligence services told us that the insurgents had entered the front of the hotel and tried to make it all the way to the back, killing as they went.

The lobby was a gorgeous five star hotel at one point. But when I went in the marble floor was covered with blood, broken glass, and furniture was upset.

It should be easy enough to restore the hotel.

We took the people we were working on to a hospital. Unfortunately, the woman I had attended to earlier died en route.

I see a lot of this kind of thing in Afghanistan.

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