KABUL, Afghanistan – Officials on Saturday raised the death toll from a
The dead in Friday evening’s dinnertime attack, which has shocked Kabul’s closely knit expatriate community, included two Americans who worked for the privately run American University of Afghanistan, as well as the Lebanese country director for the
The Taliban said in a statement that the attack was retaliation for a
"If the U.S.-led NATO forces want to remain committed to the people of Afghanistan, they must target the terrorists," Karzai said.
The president of the American University of Afghanistan, Michael Smith, sent an email to students Saturday saying that two members of the university community – Alexis Kamerman and Alexandros Petersen – were among the fatalities.
"We are all deeply saddened by the events Friday evening. It was a vicious attack on innocent people at a restaurant in Kabul," Smith wrote.
The president of the International Monetary Fund,
Afghanistan's finance ministry issued a statement describing Abdallah, 60, as "a great friend of Afghanistan, and personal friend of many of us, who worked tirelessly with the [ministry] in supporting the relevant government agencies on economic reforms since 2008."
The attack on the lightly guarded Taverna – well known for serving Lebanese staples hummus and fattoush salad, as well as for the large portions of chocolate cake it offered to customers gratis – began when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the restaurant at about 7:30 p.m. Two other militants then stormed the dining room and opened fire on customers, some of whom reportedly tried to duck under their tables as the bullets flew.
In southern Afghanistan, a Taliban rocket struck a field in Maiwand district of Kandahar province, killing three children and wounding four others as they played soccer, said a spokesman for the provincial governor, Jawed Faisal.
The incident took place around 6 p.m. when the field usually is occupied by children and teenage boys playing soccer, Faisal said.
Baktash is a special correspondent. Times staff writer Bengali reported from Mumbai, India.