UN staff missing following Kabul terror attack

Saturday 18 January 2014 07.22
Afghan police stand guard at scene of the fatal attack in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood
Afghan police stand guard at scene of the fatal attack in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood

Four United Nations' employees are missing following multiple Taliban suicide attacks on a popular restaurant in Kabul, UN officials said.

Taliban suicide attackers stormed the Taverna du Liban in the upmarket Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood killing at least 14 people, including foreigners.

The assault was quickly claimed by Taliban militants fighting against the Afghan government and US-led foreign forces in the country.

"Four UN civilian personnel, who reportedly could have been present in close proximity to the scene of the attack in Kabul, still remain unaccounted for," UN spokesman Ari Gaitanis said.

"The UN is making efforts to clarify the status of its personnel."

The British embassy said it was investigating reports that a British national is among the dead.

The long-established Taverna is a regular dining spot for foreign diplomats, consultants, aid workers and Afghans, and is likely to have been busy with customers on Friday, the weekly holiday in Afghanistan.

The United States and British embassies are among those situated in Wazir Akbar Khan, though neither was directly affected by the attack.

Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said two of the attackers forced their way into the heavily guarded restaurant after an initial explosion at about 7.30pm.

"At least 14 people have been killed, both foreigners and Afghans. One suicide attacker detonated himself outside the restaurant and two others got inside indiscriminately killing people," Mr Salangi said.

"There were three attackers. All have been killed. Unfortunately, 14 people have also been killed, including some foreigners," city police chief Mohammad Zahir told reporters.