A suicide attack at a Kabul restaurant popular with foreign nationals killed at least 21 people on Friday, including the country director for the International Monetary Fund and four United Nations employees.
The attacker exploded a bomb at the restaurant gates, clearing the way for two gunmen to enter and start shooting indiscriminately, reports NPR's Sean Carberry. Afghan security forces killed the gunmen in a shootout.
Some 13 foreign nationals were among the dead, CNN reported, including Canadians, Lebanese and a British contractor. The U.S. embassy in Kabul confirmed on Twitter that two victims were American. Two members of the European Police mission were also killed, a Danish woman and a British close protection officer, Carberry says.
The Taliban claimed responsibility in an email, saying the attackers targeted a gathering of foreign diplomats, according to the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ noted that the deadly bombing was likely to drive more foreign nationals and aid workers from the country as the U.S. continues its pullout.
The U.N. called it a "gross violation of international humanitarian law.'
The restaurant, the Taverna du Liban, is located near many NGO offices and a little more than a mile from the Afghan presidential palace. As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, the restaurant was well-secured and one of the few that Western agencies allowed their personnel to frequent.
Restaurant owner Kamal Hamade was killed in the attack, says Lyse Doucet of the BBC.
Doucet credits Hamade, who was Lebanese, with safety measures that saved many lives Friday.
"Kamal Hamade made the best chocolate cake in Kabul, the best Lebanese food and, he thought, the best evacuation plan," Doucet writes. "Kamal did everything possible to make his Taverna restaurant a home away from home for many Kabul residents."