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Three Americans, 19 Others Dead After Restaurant Attack in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a popular restaurant in Kabul on Friday that killed at least 21 people, including three Americans and 11 other foreigners.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Robert Hilton confirmed Sunday that three Americans were among the dead.

Among the dead were two American University of Afghanistan employees.

"We are devastated by the news,” Dr. Michael Smith, president of the university, told NBC News. "The families of the victims are being notified and arrangements for repatriation of the remains are under way."

Also, the United Nations said in a statement that Basra Hassan of the United States was among four of its employees killed in the attack. The others were Nasrin Jamal of Pakistan, Khanjar Wabel Abdallah of Lebanon and Vadim Nazarov of Russia, the U.N. said. Hassan and Jamal worked for the UN Children's Fund.

"I extend my deepest condolences to the families," said Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

"On many occasions, I have condemned in the strongest possible terms the reckless terrorist attacks against civilians. This is totally unacceptable and this is a violation of international humanitarian law," he added.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement that Wabel Abdallah, 60, the fund’s resident representative in Afghanistan, was also slain. Four United Nations employees were killed in the attack, "along with a number of those from other international organizations," a U.N. spokesperson said.

Sediq Seddiqi, the spokesman for Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior, told NBC News on Saturday that the death toll included 13 foreigners and eight Afghans. The foreigners included Germans, Canadians, Russians and Lebanese. He said they included diplomats, but he would not give any further details.

There were conflicting accounts of the attack, but Reuters and The Associated Press quoted unnamed security officials as saying one attacker detonated a bomb and two others then fired on customers and employees in the Lebanese restaurant. The other two were killed by security guards, according to the reports.

The restaurant is in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which houses many foreign embassies and restaurants that cater to expatriates. In a statement taking responsibility for the attack, the Taliban said they had targeted "foreign invaders ... having their dinner."