Afghan journalist’s son survives hotel attack

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In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, Abuzar Ahmad, left, the only surviving child of Agence France-Presse journalist Sardar Ahmad, who was killed with the rest of his family in an attack on a Kabul hotel, and his sister Nilofar pose for a picture during a birthday party in Kabul, Afghanistan. Family members say the nearly 2-year-old son of the much loved Afghan journalist has emerged from a coma and his condition is improving. The news comes as hundreds of dignitaries, colleagues and loved ones gathered in a memorial service for Ahmad, his wife and two children who were killed in the attack. Relatives say the toddler Abuzar was shot five times when gunmen began shooting diners in a restaurant at the Serena hotel. His father, mother, brother and sister were all killed and relatives called it a miracle that he survived. (AP Photo/Turaj Rais)

In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, Abuzar Ahmad, left, the only surviving child of Agence France-Presse journalist Sardar Ahmad, who was killed with the rest of his family in an attack on a Kabul hotel, and his sister Nilofar pose for a picture during a birthday party in Kabul, Afghanistan. Family members say the nearly 2-year-old son of the much loved Afghan journalist has emerged from a coma and his condition is improving. The news comes as hundreds of dignitaries, colleagues and loved ones gathered in a memorial service for Ahmad, his wife and two children who were killed in the attack. Relatives say the toddler Abuzar was shot five times when gunmen began shooting diners in a restaurant at the Serena hotel. His father, mother, brother and sister were all killed and relatives called it a miracle that he survived. (AP Photo/Turaj Rais)

In this photo taken on Sunday, March 23, 2014, Abuzar Ahmad, right, the only surviving child of Agence France-Presse journalist Sardar Ahmad, who was killed with the rest of his family in an attack on a Kabul hotel, lies on a bed at an emergency hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Family members say the nearly 2-year-old son of the much loved Afghan journalist has emerged from a coma and his condition is improving. The news comes as hundreds of dignitaries, colleagues and loved ones gathered in a memorial service for Ahmad, his wife and two children who were killed in the attack. Relatives say the toddler Abuzar was shot five times when gunmen began shooting diners in a restaurant at the Serena hotel. His father, mother, brother and sister were all killed and relatives called it a miracle that he survived. (AP Photo/Turaj Rais)

In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, Abuzar Ahmad, left, the only surviving child of Agence France-Presse journalist Sardar Ahmad, who was killed with the rest of his family in an attack on a Kabul hotel, and his sister Nilofar pose for a picture during a birthday party in Kabul, Afghanistan. Family members say the nearly 2-year-old son of the much loved Afghan journalist has emerged from a coma and his condition is improving. The news comes as hundreds of dignitaries, colleagues and loved ones gathered in a memorial service for Ahmad, his wife and two children who were killed in the attack. Relatives say the toddler Abuzar was shot five times when gunmen began shooting diners in a restaurant at the Serena hotel. His father, mother, brother and sister were all killed and relatives called it a miracle that he survived. (AP Photo/Turaj Rais)

In this photo taken on Oct. 31, 2013, Abuzar Ahmad, the only surviving child of Agence France-Presse journalist Sardar Ahmad, who was killed with the rest of his family in an attack on a Kabul hotel, poses for a picture in Kabul, Afghanistan. Family members say the nearly 2-year-old son of the much loved Afghan journalist has emerged from a coma and his condition is improving. The news comes as hundreds of dignitaries, colleagues and loved ones gathered in a memorial service for Ahmad, his wife and two children who were killed in the attack. Relatives say the toddler Abuzar was shot five times when gunmen began shooting diners in a restaurant at the Serena hotel. His father, mother, brother and sister were all killed and relatives called it a miracle that he survived. (AP Photo/Turaj Rais)

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan toddler shot five times by Taliban militants in an attack at a Kabul hotel that killed his journalist father and the rest of his family has regained consciousness and asked for his mother, relatives said Monday, calling the survival of the nearly 2-year-old boy a miracle.

Hundreds of colleagues, dignitaries and loved ones gathered, meanwhile, at a memorial service for Agence France-Presse reporter Sardar Ahmad, his wife and their two other children, slain in Friday’s rampage at a restaurant in the Serena hotel.

Nine people in all were shot at close range and killed in the attack, which was particularly shocking because the luxury hotel has long been considered one of the safest places in Kabul to stay. The dead included four foreigners and an Afghan businessman.

The Ahmad family’s youngest child, Abuzar, emerged from a coma on Sunday, and his condition was markedly improved, according to a cousin who provided pictures, including one showing a doctor leaning over the heavily bandaged child.

“Now he’s completely in recovery mode,” 25-year-old Turaj Rais said in a telephone interview. “Abuzar gives me hope. We are looking forward to a bright future for him.”

Rais, who was Sardar Ahmad’s nephew and lived with the family before he got married, said Abuzar had even reached out to grab his iPhone to play a video game, though he was unable to do so. He said a family meeting was planned to decide who would take guardianship of the boy.

Ahmad and his wife, Humaira, had taken their three children —

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