UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said four United Nations personnel were among those killed in the Taliban suicide bombing of a Lebanese restaurant

Thirteen foreigners were among the 21 people killed in the suicide bombing by the Taliban of a restaurant in a part of Kabul that houses several diplomatic missions on Friday, police said.

“Thirteen foreigners and 8 Afghans were killed in today’s suicide attack,” Mohammad Zahir, Kabul police chief, said.

Four of those killed were women, Afghan Deputy Interior Minister said.

A U.N. official said four employees with the United Nations are “unaccounted for” following the attack, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde confirmed that the IMF’s resident representative in Afghanistan was among the dead.

IMF employee Wabel Abdallah, 60, a Lebanese national, was killed, Ms. Lagarde said in a statement.

Ari Gaitanis, the spokesman for the U.N. in Afghanistan, told DPA the personnel “reportedly could have been present in close proximity to the scene of today’s attack in Kabul,” and they “remain unaccounted for”.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said four United Nations personnel have been killed in the “horrific attack” on a Kabul restaurant.

Ban Ki-moon condemns attack

Later, the U.N. chief condemned Friday’s attack “in the strongest terms”, saying “such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law”, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Mr. Ban said the U.N. personnel, who were not identified, were among at least 14 foreigners and Afghans killed, including a number of people from other international organizations. Kabul police say 16 people were killed.

Mr. Ban demanded an immediate end to the attacks.

Foreigners were target

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had carried out the bombing in Wazir Akbar Khan at 7:30 p.m. (1500 GMT), which was followed by a gun-battle, with foreigners being the target.

The Lebanese restaurant, Taverna Du Liban, is popular among foreigners and wealthy locals and located a short distance from the Norwegian embassy.

The Lebanese owner of the restaurant was among those killed, according to the police chief.

The British embassy also said it was investigating reports that a British national was among the killed.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, “Foreigners were present during the attack. According to preliminary details, German authorities were killed.” German officials in Kabul declined to comment.

Zahir said three attackers were killed.

“One suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the restaurant, opening way for two others to get inside the restaurant,” he said.

“The two assailants then fought with the local guards and the police for two hours.” An American aid worker who left the restaurant 10 minutes before bombing told DPA she had seen a number of foreign and local officials among the 25-30 patrons.

Security forces cordoned off the streets near the scene of the blast, where body parts were strewn. The explosion gutted cars.

Police said the armed guards of some of the foreigners who were in the restaurant had prevented them from entering the restaurant in the immediate aftermath of the blast.

The bombing is the first in recent years of a Kabul restaurant popular with foreigners and the fourth attack in the city this month.

Over the last week, a suicide bombing killed two policemen, while a tribal elder survived an attempt on his life.

Last year, the Taliban launched a series of high profile attacks in Kabul, including targeting the presidential palace, the airport, the Supreme Court and the U.N. compound.

Afghan security forces have taken the role of fighting the Taliban as the NATO-led coalition military is withdrawing this year from the war-torn country.