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Taliban Suicide Bomber Hits Kabul Restaurant

<p>A suicide attack on a Kabul restaurant frequented by foreigners killed the IMF's representative in Afghanistan and more than a dozen others.</p>

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack on a popular Lebanese restaurant in the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday evening that killed at least 16 people, including 13 foreigners, Kabul's Provincial Police Chief said.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement that Wabel Abdallah, 60, the fund's resident representative in Afghanistan, was among the dead.

The U.N. said four of its employees were missing after the attack. Ari Gaitanis, a U.N. spokesman in Afghanistan, said four employees remain unaccounted for and are believed to have been in the vicinity of the attack when it occurred.

There were conflicting accounts of the attack, but Reuters and The Associated Press quoted unnamed security officials as saying one attacker detonated a suicide bomb and two others then fired on restaurant customers and employees. 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 that those killed were German nationals.

“This evening around 7 p.m. in Kabul, [Wazir Akbar Khan] district, we attacked one of the restaurants with a suicide attack where foreign invaders were having their dinner,” the Taliban statement said.

“In this attack we have used very heavy explosives which caused heavy losses to the enemy. According to our initial information, which we received, in this attack we attacked senior officials from the German military and government.”

In Berlin, the German foreign ministry said it could not confirm that Germans were involved.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that all staff at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan have been accounted for since the attack. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki also condemned the attack and called it a "despicable act of terrorism."

The attack came at a difficult moment for Afghanistan as most foreign forces prepare to leave the country this year after more than a decade of war and almost daily attacks.

Reuters contributed to this report.