Two Canadians among 21 killed in Kabul restaurant attack
Christina Commisso and Corinne Ton That, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, January 18, 2014 9:49AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 18, 2014 10:25PM EST
Two Canadian accountants are among the 21 victims of a suicide bombing at a restaurant popular with foreign nationals in Kabul, Afghanistan.
CTV News has confirmed that the two men killed when a suicide bomber and two others with guns attacked Friday, are Martin Glazer of Gatineau, Que., and Peter McSheffrey of Ottawa, both of whom worked for the Quebec accounting firm Samson & Associates.
In a statement, Peter’s brother Robert McSheffrey said family and friends “are all grieving his tragic and shocking loss.”
“What makes this particularly difficult for the family is that Peter was the victim of senseless violence against innocent people. Peter loved to travel and was doing meaningful work.”
Pierre Samson, of Samson & Associates, told CTV News Channel on Saturday that the two men were doing auditing work for the Canadian International Development Agency in Afghanistan.
"We've never had problems before, but I think in this case they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, unfortunately," Samson said, explaining that the two men were eating dinner when the attack occurred.
Samson said one of the men killed in the attack had been to Afghanistan before, and both men had received training prior to the trip.
"We have training from International Affairs and Consular Affairs, who say … what they should do and what they should not be doing (in a war zone)," he said.
The international community is condemning the attack, which left a total of 21 dead, including 13 foreigners and eight Afghans.
The deceased at the La Taverna du Liban restaurant included American, British, Lebanese, Russian, Danish and Malaysian citizens.
Khanjar Wabel Abdallah of Lebanon, the head of the International Monetary Fund in Afghanistan, and three United Nations staff – Nasreen Khan, a UNICEF health specialist from Pakistan, Basra Hassan, a Somali-American working as a nutrition specialist for UNICEF, and Vadim Nazarov, a political affairs officer from Russia – were among those killed.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul confirmed that three Americans were killed, including two university employees working for the American University of Afghanistan.
Others identified were two British citizens – development specialist Dharmender Singh Phangura and bodyguard Simon Chase.
A Taliban suicide bomber had detonated an explosive at the popular Kabul restaurant that at the time was packed with wealthy Afghans and foreigners. Following the explosion, two other attackers entered and fired bullets into the crowd.
Canada's Foreign Affairs minister, the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack and demanded an end to the violence.
“Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the targeted, cowardly terrorist attack today on a restaurant in Kabul,” John Baird said in a statement Friday. “On behalf of all Canadians, we extend our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and injured in this horrible and senseless act of terror.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was reprisal for an Afghan military operation earlier in the week against insurgents in Parwan province, which the insurgents 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."
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press