Up to 21, Mostly Foreigners, Killed in Kabul Suicide Attack
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Up to 21 people were killed in an attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in the Afghan capital, after a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance and gunmen burst in to spray diners with bullets.
The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) representative in Afghanistan and four United Nations staff were among the dead, who included 13 foreign nationals, police said.
Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack on a Lebanese restaurant in the capital's central Wazir Akbar Khan district, which hosts many embassies and restaurants catering for expatriates.
"Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. "They must stop immediately."
The stutter of gunshots rattled the district for several minutes after the blast around 7.30 pm, a busy dining time when expatriates in Kabul tend to eat out.
One of the survivors, Suleiman, who worked as a cook at the restaurant, said he escaped from the gunmen after hearing the explosion outside.
"I went to the roof and stayed with my back to the chimney for two or three hours. Later Afghan police came and took me out."
A clearance operation continued for several hours after the attack as until midnight police were still unsure whether more bombers might be lurking in the dark, dusty streets.
IMF representative Wabel Abdallah, a 60-year-old Lebanese national, was killed in the explosion, the IMF said. He had been leading the Fund's office in Kabul since 2008.