TODAY   |  December 18, 2014

Suicide bomb in Kabul kills at least 2 Americans

At least 21 people, including two Americans and 11 other foreigners, were killed Friday in an attack on a popular Lebanese restaurant in Kabul. NBC’s Annabel Roberts reports.

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>> there is a lot coming up in this half hour. we begin with what we're learning about the two americans, private citizens, who were killed in afghanistan . annabel roberts is in london this morning with those new details for us. annabel , good morning.

>> reporter: erica, good morning. we know the two u.s. citizens were on the staff of the american university of afghanistan and had been at a restaurant in an area that is for kabul considered reasonably safe. the restaurant was packed last night when a taliban suicide bomber detonated explosives at the entrance. eyewitnesses say two gunmen then ran in, firing indiscriminately.

>> the security forces , the special units out here, they have surrounded the area completely.

>> reporter: at least 21 people were killed, 13 of them foreigners, 2 u.s. citizens from the american university of afghanistan , also the imf's top representative in the country and four u.n. staff. it's the deadliest attack against foreign civilians in afghanistan since the war began nearly 13 years ago.

>> we're very shocked and we're very sad and it's a very heavy day here for us, for the u.n. and afghanistan .

>> reporter: the restaurant is situated in a district that is home to several embassies and popular with diplomats and aide workers. one of the chefs survived by hiding on the roof.

>> we escape, all the guys escape up. and after that, i go to the roof. i stay back of the chimney, like two, three hours.

>> reporter: in a statement, the american university of afghanistan said "such senseless violence flies in the face of the sentiments of our students and the afghan people who share our grief." now, president karzai has called this a brutal attack which he strongly condemns. remember, most foreign forces are due to withdraw later this year, so this attack in a so-called safe zone of kabul really does throw the spotlight again on the afghan security force 's ability to take on the taliban. erica.

>> all right, annabel roberts in london this morning. thank you.