An Afghan toddler shot five times by Taliban militants in an attack at a Kabul hotel that killed his journalist father and the rest of his family has regained consciousness and asked for his mother, relatives said Monday, calling the survival of the nearly 2-year-old boy a miracle.
Hundreds of colleagues, dignitaries and loved ones gathered, meanwhile, at a memorial service for Agence France-Presse reporter Sardar Ahmad, his wife and their two other children, slain in Friday’s rampage at a restaurant in the Serena hotel.
Nine people in all were shot at close range and killed in the attack, which was particularly shocking because the luxury hotel has long been considered one of the safest places in Kabul to stay. The dead included four foreigners and an Afghan businessman.
The Ahmad family’s youngest child, Abuzar, emerged from a coma Sunday, and his condition was markedly improved, according to a cousin who provided pictures, including one showing a doctor leaning over the heavily bandaged child.
Ahmad and his wife, Humaira, had taken their three children — Nilofar, 6, Omar, 4, and Abuzar — to the Serena for a buffet dinner to celebrate the Persian new year.
Authorities said the four gunmen, dressed in traditional Afghan tunics and loose trousers, were armed with small pistols that fit in the palms of their hands. Security forces killed them after a three-hour standoff.
The Interior Ministry said the attackers hid the pistols and ammunition in the soles of their shoes, and security-video footage shows they were searched twice before walking through the lobby and entering the restaurant.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.