Terrorist attack on Kabul Serena Hotel


January 26, 2022

The terrorist attack on the Kabul Serena Hotel took place on January 14, 2008, when Taliban terrorists attacked with grenades and firearms against the Kabul Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. A Norwegian delegation, under Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, was at the hotel during the attack. Journalist Carsten Thomassen was killed during the attack. Serena Hotel is a five star hotel in Kabul which since its reopening in 2005 has been widely used by international press and politicians. The hotel has its own room which has often been used by foreigners for meetings, dinners and various parties. It is considered by many to be the finest hotel in the city, and is close to the palace of the Afghan president. Norway invested approx. NOK 30 million in the hotel through Norfund, the Government Investment Fund for business activities in developing countries. The hotel also houses the Australian Ambassador to Afghanistan.


Just before 15.00 (Norwegian time), 18.30 (local time), terrorists from the Taliban, dressed in police uniforms, stormed the hotel with suicide vests, grenades and AK-47 rifles. A car bomb had exploded outside the hotel, according to Taliban spokesmen. A spokesman for NATO forces claimed that the guards at the hotel managed to kill one of the terrorists before entering the hotel. Two of the terrorists threw hand grenades at the guards outside, and thus managed to get into the hotel area itself. There, one of the terrorists is said to have detonated a suicide bomb, while at least one of the terrorists who was dressed in Afghan police uniform shot wildly around him with automatic weapons. The Norwegian photographer Stian Solum said that he was one of those who was shot at by a man wearing a police uniform, when he came out of the elevator at the hotel. uses to be. The Norwegian ISAF forces in Kabul helped evacuate the wounded and others from the hotel. The Norwegian forces used two armored vehicles, a sisu and a field vehicle, including a doctor and a nurse in the evacuation.


Two Norwegians were shot and seriously injured during the attack. One was Dagbladet's journalist Carsten Thomassen, who later died of splinter injuries, the other was a male Foreign Ministry employee, Bjørn Svenungsen. Both were injured after being attacked by a terrorist in police uniform. The two Norwegians were transported by Norwegian soldiers to a Czech ISAF field hospital in Kabul, where Thomassen died on the operating table, as a result of the splinter injuries he received. Two guards at the hotel were killed in the attack, as well as a female Filipino employee Zenia Aguilan at the hotel and a American citizen. A diplomat from the United Arab Emirates was shot in the stomach and badly injured.

The perpetrators

A Western medic who arrived at the hotel stated that one of the terrorists was found shot and killed in the hotel lobby, one blew himself up in the square in front of the hotel entrance, one blew himself up on the roof of the hotel and the fourth escaped. One of the terrorists allegedly locked himself out on the roof of the hotel by mistake, and then blew himself up there. One of the terrorists, who is said to have fired the shots inside the hotel, was captured by the hotel's own security guards shortly after the incident.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was at the Serena Hotel, together with a large delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when the attack took place. Everyone at the meeting, which took place on the floor below the lobby, was ordered down to the floor by the bodyguards from the Police Security Service. There they lay while the guards were on standby with their weapons, in case the room they were in was to be attacked. The assembly was eventually transported to safety in a bomb room in the hotel's basement. Støre had just started a meeting with the head of the Afghan Human Rights Commission. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated a little

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