Nightly News   |  January 18, 2014

Deadly Attack in Afghanistan Kills 3 Americans

Three Americans are among the 21 people killed when a suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to that devastating attack in afghanistan. the deadliest attack on civilians since the afghan war began. three americans are among 21 people killed when a suicide bomber and gunman struck at a restaurant just as people were sitting down to dinner. the white house is condemning the attack which happened in the heart of kabul. our report tonight from nbc's annabel roberts.

>> reporter: a deadly bold attack by the taliban in a part of the city people hoped they were safe, protected by afghan police . 21 people died including three u.s. citizens .

>> this was a very good restaurant where many foreign nationals go to this restaurant. it was very unfortunate and very -- very, very extreme act of violence against humanity.

>> reporter: one of the americans killed worked for the u.n.

>> this is totally unacceptable and this is a violation of international humanitarian law .

>> reporter: the two other u.s. citizens worked here at the co-ed american university of afghanistan . they have not been named but their families have been notified. today the white house condemned the attack saying there is no possible justification for this attack which has killed innocent civilians working every day to help the afghan people achieve a better future. and afghan president karzai spoke out late today calling it a brutal attack. a number of foreign embassies are based in this district and it's considered reasonably safe. the act demonstrates the taliban 's reach just as the u.s. and other countries prepare to withdraw troops later this year.

>> there have been attacks of this kind for years. they all send a message that we can find you. we know where you are. don't ever feel like you're safe because you're not. i don't think it scores a huge victory but it's a visible one.

>> reporter: they say the taliban is diminished. this attack suggests otherwise. annabel roberts, nbc news, london.