UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Four UN staff members were killed Friday in a terrorist attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed.
A total of 21 people, including 13 foreigners, were killed in the attack, which happened at a Lebanese restaurant, Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir said in the latest update.
Identities of the UN international staffers were not released, nor were their nationalities or positions. An earlier statement said three UN staffers were among the fatalities.
"The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the horrific attack at a restaurant in central Kabul," the spokesman said in a statement. "Four UN personnel, along with a number of those from other international organizations, are now confirmed dead."
"Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law. They must stop immediately," added the statement.
Earlier, UN spokesman Farhan Haq told Xinhua that four UN international staff members were believed to be in the vicinity of the restaurant at the time of the Friday evening attack and had not been accounted for hours afterward.
"The Secretary-General sends his deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of those killed and his hopes for a swift recovery to those injured," the statement concluded.
The Lebanese restaurant is located in a section of the Afghanistan capital popular with foreigners. Several foreign embassies are also nearby.
An investigation has been launched into the incident, for which the Taliban insurgent group has claimed responsibility.
The latest attack underscores the challenges Afghan army and police face after they took the full operational lead from foreign troops in June last year.
The war-torn country is due to take over the responsibility for its own security from foreign troops by the end of the year.
More than 86,000 NATO-led troops, down from the peak of 130,000 in 2010, are deployed in Afghanistan at present.
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