KABUL : The only surviving child of Sardar Ahmad, the AFP reporter who was killed with his family in an attack on a Kabul hotel, is showing signs of improvement in hospital, doctors said Monday.

Ahmad’s youngest son, Abuzar, aged two years and 10 months, received a bullet fragment in the head and other wounds to the body when four gunmen opened fire in the luxury Serena hotel in the Afghan capital on Thursday evening. Ahmad, 40, his wife Homaira, six-year-old daughter Nilofar and five-year-old son Omar were among nine civilians who lost their lives in the assault.

“Abuzar is still alive because he was brought very quickly to the hospital,” Luca Radaelli, medical coordinator at the Italian-run Emergency Hospital, told AFP.

“He is still undergoing evaluation, and we have to be very careful because anything can happen, but he is making progress. “He has started feeding orally and is alert in bed with his eyes open.”

Abuzar, who is now breathing on his own and sipping juice through a straw, remains in intensive care at the hospital, which provides emergency treatment to any victims of violence.

The bullet fragment has been removed from his skull and he is also being treated for wounds to his chest and left thigh.

Doctors said Abuzar must stay in intensive care for further monitoring before plans can be made on his future treatment.

“We are living in a nightmare, but we see a small sign of hope,” Bashir Mirzad, one of Sardar Ahmad’s brothers, said after a family visit to the child’s bedside on Monday.

Faisal Khan, another of his brothers, said: “The whole world is saying prayers for Abuzar’s recovery. He is Sardar’s surviving legacy. We should all put our hands together and pray.”

Sardar Ahmad was buried alongside his wife and two other children on Sunday.

The Serena attack also killed another Afghan and four foreigners - two Canadians, an American and a Paraguayan. It was claimed by the Taliban, who have vowed a campaign of violence to disrupt presidential elections on April 5.

But Afghanistan’s National Security Council, which is chaired by President Hamid Karzai, said it was planned “outside the country” in a veiled reference to Pakistan.