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21 killed, mostly foreigners in Taliban suicide attack on Kabul restaurant

Kabul, Jan 19 (): Afghan police said 21 people, including 13 foreigners and eight Afghans, all civilians, were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the restaurant, while two gunmen entered through the back door and opened fire.

Among the 13 foreigners dead were three Americans, two British citizens, two Canadians, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) head of mission, and the restaurant’s Lebanese owner, who was killed as he tried to fire back at the attackers.

It was the deadliest attack on foreign civilians since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001. A Taliban spokesman said the attack was to avenge a US airstrike in Parwan province on Tuesday night that President Hamid Karzai said killed seven children and one woman.

The White House on Saturday strongly condemned the Taliban suicide attack. The foreign office in London confirmed that among the two Britons killed in the Kabul attack, one of them was Dhamender Singh Phangurha, popularly known as “Del Singh” in his home town of Southampton. The other Briton was named as Simon Chase. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said two Canadians died, but it was unclear which organisation they worked for.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said four United Nations personnel have been killed in the “horrific attack” on the Kabul restaurant.

In a statement by the Press Secretary on the attack in Kabul, the United States joined the international community in condemning the Taliban’s attack on the restaurant in Kabul, which has killed 21 civilians and injured many others. UN has sent condolences to all the victims of the attack and their families, and pray for a speedy recovery for those injured.

Most foreign forces are getting ready to leave Afghanistan this year after more than a decade of war, and there are fears that the Taliban will strengthen attacks in the run up to an election in April, when Afghans will select a successor to President Hamid Karzai.