Friday, January 17, 2014

IMF Representative Wabel Abdallah Killed In Coordinated Taliban Assault On Upscale Kabul Restaurant - at least 16 killed in a coordinated attack as the Taliban leave the West a calling card....


Death toll rises in Taliban attack at Kabul restaurant

January 17, 2014 1:24PM ET Updated January 18, 2014 7:30AM ET
Group says attack was retaliation for Afghan military operations this week in eastern Parwan province
Topics:
 
Afghanistan
 
Taliban
 
International
Kabul-Restaurant-Suicide-Attack
An Afghan policeman stands guard next to the damaged entrance of the Lebanese restaurant Taverna that was attacked in Kabul, on Friday. 
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Twenty-one people, including two U.S. citizens, were killed Friday in a suicide bomb attack on a Kabul restaurant popular with foreigners and affluent Afghans.  
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Lebanese restaurant Taverna. The group has stepped up a campaign of violence in recent months after foreign forces handed over control of security operations to Afghan authorities ahead of their full withdrawal by the end of 2014.
The Taliban said the suicide attack was retaliation for an Afghan military operation earlier in the week in eastern Parwan province, which the group claimed killed many civilians. 
"The target of the attack was a restaurant frequented by high ranking foreigners," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. He said the attack targeted a place "where the invaders used to dine with booze and liquor in the plenty."
The head of the International Monetary Fund in Afghanistan, three United Nations staff and a member of the European Police Mission were among the dead. In all, those killed included 13 foreigners and eight Afghans. Police say a suicide bomber and two gunmen were also killed in the attack. 
Kabul police chief Gen. Mohammad Zahir Zahir said the victims included two Britons, two Canadians, a Dane, a Russian, two Lebanese, a Somali-American and a Pakistani. At least four people were wounded and about eight Afghans, mostly the kitchen staff, survived.
"We escaped to the neighbor's house through the roof," said Ahmad Fawad, a cook at the restaurant. "There were around eight or nine of us, hiding ourselves there. All the guests who were eating dinner were killed including our manager and the other cook."

Violence ahead of pullout

The attack took place in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which hosts many embassies and restaurants catering to expatriates and was carried out around dinnertime in the heavily fortified district, where many wealthy Afghans also live. 
"Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law. They must stop immediately,'' a U.N. spokesperson on Friday. 
Gunfire continued for about 20 minutes after the initial blast, and the main road leading to the area was cordoned off.
The Afghan capital has often been hit by suicide and other bomb attacks, with the most recent incident last Sunday when a Taliban suicide bomber riding a bicycle detonated himself next to a police bus, killing a policeman and a civilian.
Foreign forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014, and President Hamid Karzai is deliberating whether to allow some U.S. troops to stay to help maintain stability after many years of war. 
Karzai's refusal thus far to sign a security pact, known as the Bilateral Security Agreement, has strained relations between the two countries. U.S. officials have said that unless a deal is reached to keep about 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban could stage a major comeback and that Al-Qaeda could regain safe havens.
The deal must be signed for the U.S. and its allies to provide billions more dollars in aid.
Afghanistan's fledgling security forces face a difficult year ahead as insurgents attempt to disrupt elections on April 5 that will determin a successor to Karzai.
Without a deal, the U.S. could pull out all troops — the so-called zero option — leaving Afghan forces to battle the Taliban on their own.









http://news.antiwar.com/2014/01/17/probe-wednesday-us-air-strikes-killed-14-afghan-civilians/

( Civilian deaths from US drones make the actions of the Taliban not unwelcome by Afghan citizens )


Probe: Wednesday US Air Strikes Killed 14 Afghan Civilians

NATO Still Sticking to Initial Claim of Two Civilians

by Jason Ditz, January 17, 2014
The delegation of Afghan officials, including many MPs, sent to investigate the pre-dawn Wednesday US air strikes in Parwan Province have put the death toll at 14 civilians.
The initial reports from locals said the strike destroyed a house, killing eight civilians within. The probe found more deaths in the surrounding area, noting the US attacks began Tuesday night at 10 pm and continued into the early morning.
NATO’s own initial report claimed two civilians were killed, and they’re sticking to that story , saying the other people slain were members of the Haqqani network. Since many of them were small children, that position is likely to eventually be revised.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the civilian deaths, reiterating demands that the US halt air strikes against residential areas. The US has not directly addressed the killings, and seems to be letting NATO handle the fallout.






IMF Representative Killed In Coordinated Taliban Assault On Upscale Kabul Restaurant

Tyler Durden's picture





The IMF has reported that its resident representative in Afghanistan - 60-year-old Wabel Abdallah - is among the 15 people killed in a coordinated assault at a Kabul restaurant by the Taliban. The upscale taverna is well-known to be frequented by foreigners and ex-pats. As Reuters reports, Abdallah had been leading the IMF's office in the Afghan capital since 2008 and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said "this is tragic news, and we at the fund are all devastated."

A resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was among at least fourteen people killed on Friday during a coordinated assault on an upscale restaurant popular with foreigners in the Afghan capital of Kabul, the Fund confirmed.

“We have just learned that our dear colleague and friend Wabel Abdallah, our Resident Representative in Afghanistan, was killed in an attack at a restaurant in Kabul in which many people were killed,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “This is tragic news, and we at the Fund are all devastated.”

Lagarde added: “Our hearts go out to Wabel’s family and friends, as well as the other victims of this attack.”

Wabel Abdallah, 60, was a Lebanese national who was appointed Resident Representative in June 2008. He joined the Fund from the Central Bank of Lebanon in 1993, and has held various IMF positions, particularly posts relating to IMF activities and operations in the Middle East.
As AFP reports, this appears coordinated...
It was another friendly evening at the Taverna du Liban restaurant in Kabul, with Afghans and foreigners enjoying the generous helpings of food when a blast exploded outside and gunmen burst in, intent on killing everyone they could find.

...

The Taverna was one of the few social venues in Kabul where locals and foreigners mixed with ease, enjoying its Lebanese staples such as hummus, falafel, shawarma kebabs and bakhlava dessert.

...

One cook recalled his dramatic escape from the carnage.

"I was sitting with my friends in the kitchen when an explosion happened and smoke filled the kitchen," kebab cook Abdul Majid told AFP while being treated for leg fractures in a nearby hospital.

"A man came inside shouting and he started shooting. One of my colleagues was shot and fell down. I ran to the roof and threw myself to the neighbouring property."

The restaurant's wide range of customers included Afghan businessmen, government officials, foreign diplomats, development consultants and aid workers.
Of course, the assumption is that this is a random attack on an ex-pat and foreigner frequented taverna and not a more specific targeted attack on the people that really pull the strings all over the world. We can only hope that the Greeks don't get any ideas...

However, as Bloomberg reports, it seems more targeted...
suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Kabul restaurant filled with foreigners and affluent Afghans, while two gunmen snuck in through the back door and opened fire Friday in a brazen dinnertime attack that killed 16 people, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility within an hour of the attack against La Taverna du Liban, part of a stepped-up campaign of violence against foreign and government interests to send a message that the militants are not going anywhere as the U.S.-led coalition winds down its combat mission at the end of the year.

The bombing served as a reminder that although militant violence in the capital has dropped off in recent months, insurgents remain capable of carrying out attacks inside the most heavily guarded areas.




Taliban claim responsibility for deadly attack at Kabul restaurant

January 17, 2014 1:24PM ET Updated 3:40PM ET
Strike carried out around dinnertime in heavily fortified district where many wealthy Afghans, foreigners live
Topics:
 
Afghanistan
 
Taliban
 
International




Kabul-Restaurant-Suicide-Attack



Afghan police officers arrive at the scene of a suicide bomb explosion in Kabul on Friday near the popular Lebanese restaurant Taverna.
Omar Sobhani/Reuters
At least 16 people were killed Friday in a suicide bomb attack outside a restaurant in central Kabul that is popular with government officials, diplomats and businesspeople, police in Afghanistan said. 
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which hosts many embassies and restaurants catering to expatriates. The attack at the long-established Lebanese restaurant Taverna was carried out around dinnertime in the heavily fortified district, where many wealthy Afghans also live. 
A Taliban spokesman also said that "based on primary reports of this attack, a number of high-ranking German officials were killed."
In Berlin, the Foreign Ministry said it could not confirm that Germans had been killed in the attack. 
A United Nations spokesman, meanwhile, confirmed to Al Jazeera that four of its staff members are unaccounted for following the Kabul attack. The spokesman said they are civilian personnel who were near the restaurant at the time of the bombing.
Gunfire continued for about 20 minutes after the initial blast, and the main road leading to the area was cordoned off.
Deputy Interior Minister Ayoub Salangi said the suicide bomber died in the attack and two other men were shot and killed in the vicinity of the restaurant.
Salangi said that "there were a number of people wounded, including drivers and people waiting outside and in neighboring houses."
The Afghan capital has often been hit by suicide and other bomb attacks, with the most recent incident last Sunday when a Taliban suicide bomber riding a bicycle detonated himself next to a police bus, killing a policeman and a civilian.
Foreign forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014, and President Hamid Karzai is deliberating whether to allow some U.S. troops to stay to help maintain stability after many years of war. 
Karzai's refusal thus far to sign a security pact, known as the Bilateral Security Agreement, has strained relations between the two countries. U.S. officials have said that unless a deal is reached to keep about 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban could stage a major comeback and that Al-Qaeda could regain safe havens.
The deal must be signed for the U.S. and its allies to provide billions more dollars in aid.
Afghanistan's fledgling security forces face a difficult year ahead as insurgents attempt to disrupt elections on April 5 that will determin a successor to Karzai.
Without a deal, the U.S. could pull out all troops — the so-called zero option — leaving Afghan forces to battle the Taliban on their own.