KABUL, Afghanistan – A Taliban attack against a popular Kabul restaurant killed 21 people, authorities said Saturday, making it the deadliest single attack against foreign civilians in the course of a nearly 13-year U.S.-led war there now approaching its end.
The attack comes as security has been deteriorating and apprehension has been growing among Afghans over their country’s future as U.S.-led foreign forces prepare for a final withdrawal at the end of the year.
The dead from Friday’s assault against La Taverna du Liban included 13 foreigners and eight Afghans, all civilians. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said late Saturday that three Americans were killed. Previously, those identified included two U.S. citizens working for the American University of Afghanistan and a victim identified by the United Nations as Basra Hassan, a Somali-American working as a nutrition specialist for UNICEF.
Others identified were two Britons, two Canadians who worked for a financial services firm, two Lebanese, a Danish police officer, a Russian, and a Malaysian.
Also among the dead were the International Monetary Fund’s representative, Khanjar Wabel Abdallah of Lebanon; Nasreen Khan, a UNICEF health specialist from Pakistan; and Vadim Nazarov, a Russian who was the chief political affairs officer at the U.N. Mission in Afghanistan. Nazarov was one of the U.N’s most experienced officials, fluent in the country’s languages and with experience dating back to the 1980s.
The attack was condemned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the U.N. Security Council, NATO, the White House and the European Union.
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.