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China urges citizens to leave Afghanistan after Kabul attack

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Kabul: China on Tuesday advised its citizens in Afghanistan to leave the country “as soon as possible,” following a coordinated attack by ISIS militants the previous day on a Chinese-owned hotel in Kabul city.

The militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack Monday afternoon on Kabul Longan Hotel, which left three assailants dead and at least two hotel guests injured as they tried to escape by jumping out of a window.

Plumes of smoke rose from the 10-story building in the central Shar-e Naw neighborhood, according to images posted on social media as the attack unfolded. Residents reported explosions and gunfire.

Security forces rushed to the area and blocked all roads leading to the site. Khalid Zadran, the Kabul police spokesman, said the attack lasted several hours, followed by a clean-up operation.

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called the attack “egregious in nature” and said China was “deeply shocked.”

Beijing demanded a “thorough investigation” and urged the interim government “to take resolute and strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens, institutions and projects in Afghanistan,” Wang said.

The Chinese Embassy in Kabul sent its team to the site to help with the rescue, treatment and accommodations for the victims of the attack, Wang added.

“In view of the current security situation in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again advised Chinese citizens and institutions in Afghanistan to evacuate from Afghanistan as soon as possible,” Wang said.

China has economic and mining interests in Afghanistan, Chinese firms, have tentatively sought to pursue opportunities in exploiting Afghanistan’s resource deposits, especially the Mes Aynak mine that is believed to hold the world’s largest copper deposit.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a regional conference recently led calls for the United States to unfreeze Afghan assets held abroad and end sanctions on the Taliban government.

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