Suicide bomb attack on Kabul restaurant ‘kills 14’

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At least 14 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in the Afghan capital, officials say.

Foreigners and Afghans are among the dead following the blast in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood.

The area is home to a number of foreign embassies and organisations.

The attack happened on a Friday evening when the Taverna du Liban restaurant would have been busy with diners.

The suicide attacker detonated his explosives outside the gate of the heavily-fortified restaurant, the Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said.

Two gunmen then entered the restaurant and started “indiscriminately killing” people inside.

Salangi said four women were among the dead.

The attackers were eventually shot dead by the security forces when they arrived at the scene.

The BBC’s Mahfouz Zubaide heard the blast and gunfire from at least two kilometres away. He said the gunfire went on sporadically for about 10 minutes.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had been deliberately targeting foreign officials.

Security continues to be a major concern in Afghanistan. The last remaining contingent of Nato-led forces is due to leave by the end of the year, having handed over security to Afghan forces.

Washington is pushing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign an agreement which would allow some US troops to stay behind after this year’s withdrawal.

The Taliban told the BBC’s John Simpson earlier this week that it was now back in control of large areas of Afghanistan and was confident of returning to power after Western troops left.

Our correspondent says it is hard to believe the Taliban could make a comeback as things stand, but their takeover of Kabul in 1996 was unexpected, and they could be strengthened if a weak, corrupt president is elected in April.

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