Just to be clear: The Kabul Intercontinental Hotel attacked by terrorists this week is not connected to the global InterContinental Hotel Group, according to the London company, which has issued press releases explaining that it lost control of the Kabul property when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Since then, other operators - no great respectors of trademarks or intellectual property, evidently - have continued to run the now-unaffiliated hotel under the same name.
When it comes to globalized commerce, you just never know. Back in the 1990s, on my first trip to Asia, I booked a room in the Fairmont Hotel, in Tokyo, and got a really good - which is to say low - rate. When I arrived, I found a perfectly good old-school hotel built after World War II when Japan was reconstructing. It was not affiliated with the upmarket Fairmont chain, now based in Toronto; Fairmont didn't own the rights to the name in Japan. That hotel has since closed and was demolished.
Anyway, it's a very different Intercontinental in Kabul.