Afghan hotel attack
Smoke rises from a hotel as a NATO helicopter flies over the site of an attack on the outskirts of KabulReuters

The 12-hour long fierce gun battle between the Taliban militants and the Afghan security forces on a popular lakeside resort on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, ended Friday, leaving at least 13 dead, according to officials.

The militants armed with rocket propelled grenades and heavy machine guns had attacked the Spozhmai hotel at the popular Qargha Lake recreational area on Thursday night around 11 pm local time. While some of civilians were able to escape, several other guests were taken as hostages. 

According to BBC reports, the attack between the Afghan security sources and the militants that continued for 12 hours came to an end with four hotel guards and four civilians being reportedly killed in the incident. All five militants were also said to have been killed.

Earlier during the attack, as many as 35 to 40 hostages, including women and children, were freed by the Afghan security forces. Several guests tried to jump off the window and hid themselves underwater in the lake to avoid being seen by the Taliban attackers.

According to reports, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on their website. They attacked the hotel because several foreigners and wealthy Afghans were using the area to conduct "wild parties" and drink alcohol and indulge in other immoral and unethical activities that are against Islam.

Both NATO forces and Afghan security forces were involved in the joint operation against the Taliban militants.

In recent times, Taliban attacks have increased, raising serious concerns about security issues at a time when NATO forces are preparing to hand over their responsibility to the Afghan forces and leave the country by 2014.

The hotel incident is the second one in the week after a major incident on Wednesday in which 21 people were killed including three US soldiers in the eastern city of Khost, when a suicide bomber rammed his motorbike into the Afghan-NATO patrol.