efe-epa(Update 2: Upgrades death toll) Kabul

An attack on a hotel in western Afghanistan on Saturday has left at least 11 people dead after five hours of fighting, according to officials.

The assault began at around 12.40 pm when several suspects entered a hotel in Qala-e-Naw, Badghis province, before firing at people indiscriminately, spokesperson for the interior ministry, Nasrat Rahimi, said on Twitter.

"Three attackers were killed and two others arrested," according to Rahimi.

The spokesperson later confirmed to Efe that eight police officers had been killed.

The attack also left a number of others injured, though an exact figure was not yet known.

Provincial health chief Dr Abdul Latif Rostaie had earlier told Efe earlier that three people had been killed and 18 others injured.

Taliban spokesperson Qari Yusof Ahmadi said in a post on Telegram that several fighters "in search of martyrdom" had entered a building near the police headquarters, adding that the shootout was ongoing.

Fierce fighting has taken place in Badghis in recent months between Taliban militants seeking control over swathes of territory and members of the Afghan security forces.

Badghis is a strategic location in that it shares a border with Turkmenistan and connects the country’s western and northwestern provinces.

In April, at least 99 Taliban fighters and 12 security forces members were killed during clashes for control over the Bala-Murghab district.

The government currently controls around 55 percent of Afghan territory, while the Taliban holds nearly 11 percent.

The remaining territory is disputed, according to the US Congress’ special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. EFE-EPA

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