The International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative in Afghanistan has been killed in a suicide bomb attack at a restaurant in Kabul. Four UN employees also died in the blast, in which up to 21 people lost their lives.
Afghan police said on Saturday that a total of 21 people, including more than a dozen foreigners, died in Friday's attack on the Kabul restaurant.
"Our latest reports say that 13 foreigners - four of them United Nations staff - and eight Afghans were killed in last night's attack," Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.
Two private US citizens were among the victims, according to US embassy spokesperson Robert Hilton.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde has confirmed that the organization's chief representative in Afghanistan, 60-year-old Lebanese national Wabel Abdallah, was among those who perished in the attack.
"This is tragic news, and we at the Fund are all devastated," Lagarde said in a press release. "Our hearts go out to Wabel's family and friends, as well as the other victims of this attack."
Meanwhile, the UN has confirmed that several of its employees also died in the attack. The nationality of those killed has not been confirmed.
"Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in a press release.
"They must stop immediately," he said.
Restaurant frequented by foreigners
Located in the upscale district of Wazir Akbar Khan, the restaurant was frequented by foreigners and wealthy locals. Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir Zahir said that the suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the restaurant's gate.
A two-hour-long gun battle then ensued between two other assailants and local security forces. All three of the attackers were killed.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the militant group, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that "according to preliminary details, German authorities were killed" in the attack. The German Foreign Ministry in Berlin could not confirm the Taliban claim.
tj, slk/kms (Reuters, dpa)