Afghan team escapes to safety in the U.S. after Taliban siege of Kabul hotel

The U.S. helped more than 86 Afghan athletes, officials and their families escape to safety after surviving a Taliban siege of a Kabul hotel, officials said Monday.

The Afghan embassy and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said U.S. personnel were among those who helped to locate the family members, bringing them to safety at the embassy in Kabul on Saturday night after the Taliban attacked.

According to an Associated Press report, the 85 athletes, officials and their families were visiting for the first time to compete in the Asian Games in Jakarta.

The group was whisked away by Ambassador Richard Olson, with some family members coming to the embassy directly from an airport terminal, according to the report.

Fox News reporter Siobhan Gorman, who was in Kabul while the attack took place, said many of the survivors were heavily damaged in the attack and that several of the athletes were badly hurt. She said that men and women held together by their faith survived by fasting during their time away from Afghanistan and at a refugee camp in Pakistan.

“Many of the family members are elderly and very frail. They are the people who received much of the aid and support from the international community, the United Nations, the IOC,” Gorman said. “A lot of them literally had to be carried into the embassy in Kabul in wheelchairs and using crutches or with walkers.”

At least 20 Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on Friday night, killing at least 18 people and wounding 69 others, according to Afghan officials. Gunmen battled security forces for four hours during the attack.

The terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, which came as the Islamic State group made a renewed push into Afghanistan.

In a Twitter post, the Taliban also said they planned the attack.

Fox News’ Siobhan Gorman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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