The brothers hired a small team of guards. But they were quickly overpowered Sunday.
When the footage of their building began appearing on Afghan television — fuzzy images of unpainted concrete and metal beams and flashes of gunfire — Hashim struggled to accept that his premonition had materialized.
When his phone started to light up with calls from concerned friends, he turned it off.
As the standoff went on through the night, “I could feel every single bullet that was fired,” he said.
Afghan security officials and their NATO trainers fought the insurgents until early Monday. A few hours after the last insurgent was killed, government officials allowed journalists to tour the building. The five bodies remained where they had fallen: young men in traditional clothing who had been snacking on cashews during the attack.
President Hamid Karzai on Monday blamed the attack on “an intelligence failure for us and especially for NATO.”
The Pentagon acknowledged Monday that its intelligence sources had shown the Haqqani network was planning large-scale, simultaneous attacks in Afghanistan this spring but that there was not specific information about where and when the strikes might occur.
In the aftermath of the attack, Hashim said he thought to himself, “If I can sell this place right now, I will.”
But as the day went on and Kabul’s brand of normalcy returned, he changed his mind. The family would move past this, he said. They would build the hotel with big glass windows and comfortable beds. Hubris or not, they would have their hotel.
“We will not be defeated by traitors,” he said.
But Hashim knows that the security challenges are likely to intensify. A hotel in central Kabul for Western guests is likely to become a target. The brothers have added soundproof and bulletproof walls to their plans, hedging in their own, small way against the men who overran their building Sunday.
“We want to invest in our country,” Hashim said. “But we don't know when the bloodshed will end.”
Staff writer Craig Whitlock in Washington contributed to this report.