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UN, IMF officials among 21 killed in Kabul suicide attack

19 January, 2014

KABUL: The death toll from a Taliban attack on a Kabul restaurant popular with foreigners and affluent Afghans has risen to 21, officials said on Saturday, in the deadliest violence against foreign civilians in the country since the start of the war nearly 13 years ago.

Kabul police chief Gen Mohammad Zahir Zahir said the victims included 13 foreigners and eight Afghans and said majority were civilians.

The US Embassy said that at least two private US citizens were among the victims but provided no other details. The dead at the La Taverna du Liban restaurant included the head of the International Monetary Fund in Afghanistan, three United Nations staff and a member of the European Police Mission in Afghanistan.

The dead included two Britons, two Canadians, a Dane, a Russian, two Lebanese, a Somali-American and a Pakistani.

At least four people were wounded and about eight Afghans, mostly the kitchen staff, survived. Five women, four foreign and one Afghan, were also among the dead, Zahir said.

The three attackers, including a suicide bomber and two gunmen, were also killed during Friday night´s assault on the Lebanese restaurant.

The dead included the head of the IMF in Afghanistan, Wabel Abdallah, a 60-year-old Lebanese national; a Danish European policewoman and her British bodyguard, while the UN in Kabul said its three staff members included a Pakistani, a Russian and a Somali-American. The restaurant's Lebanese owner, Kamal Hamade, was also killed.

The attack was condemned by the UN Security Council, Nato and the European Union.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced the killings, which his spokesman said were "completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law".

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in reprisal for an Afghan military operation earlier in the week against insurgents in eastern Parwan province, which the insurgents claimed killed many civilians.

Taliban have stepped up a campaign of violence in recent months after foreign forces handed over control of security for Afghanistan to Afghan army and police ahead of their full withdrawal by the end of 2014.

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