UN Staff, IMF Official among 21 Dead in Kabul Attack
KABUL – Four United Nations (UN) employees and a senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) official were among 21 people killed during last night’s group suicide attack on a restaurant in Kabul, officials said. A three-member suicide squad launched the brazen attack on a Lebanese restaurant frequented by foreigners in the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic district in downtown Kabul at 7:20pm, a busy dining time.
One suicide attacker blew himself up outside the restaurant, allowing the two others to enter the building. They started shooting at those dining inside the restaurant until killed by Afghan forces during an exchange fire that lasted several minutes. The dead included 13 foreigners and eight Afghans, confirmed Kabul police spokesman HashmatullahStanikzai, adding another two Afghans were injured in the assault.
The foreigners killed included Canadians, Lebanese and Russians, Stanikzai told Pajhwok Afghan News. Four female foreign nationals and an Afghan woman were among those killed. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said two Canadians died in the attack but it was not clear if this figure was in addition to the deaths reported by the IMF and United Nations.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said none of the dead included US Embassy staff in Kabul.Officials confirmed four UN staff and a senior IMF official, WabelAbdallah, a 60-year-old Lebanese national, had been killed. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde later in a statement confirmed the Abdallah’s death. He had been leading the Fund’s office in Kabul since 2008.
“This is tragic news, and we at the Fund are all devastated,” MsLagarde said in her statement. The UN confirmed its four staff had been killed, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemning the attack as “horrific”. The restaurant in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan area is popular with foreigners, diplomats and aid workers, and the attack took place with foreign national were busy taking diner. (PAN)