13 foreigners dead in Taliban attack on Afghan restaurant
KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban attack against a popular Kabul restaurant killed 21 people, authorities said on Saturday, making it the deadliest attack against foreign civilians in the course of a nearly 13-year U.S.-led war there now approaching its end.
The attack happened as security has been deteriorating and apprehension has been growing among Afghans about their country's future as U.S.-led foreign forces prepare for a final withdrawal at the end of the year.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has deferred signing an agreement to allow American forces to stay past the planned withdrawal until after the country's April 5 presidential election, criticized America while condemning the attack.
“If NATO forces and in the lead the United States of America want to cooperate and be united with Afghan people, they must target terrorism,” he said without fully elaborating on what America should be doing. He added that the United States had followed a policy that “was not successful in the past decade.”
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 — development specialist Dharmender Singh Phangura and close protection officer Simon Chase — two Canadians who worked for a financial services firm, two Lebanese, a Danish police officer, a Russian, and a Malaysian. Phangura, who along with the Malaysian worked as an adviser for Adam Smith International, was to run as a Labour Party candidate in upcoming elections for the European Parliament.
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.