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At least 13 dead after suicide bomber attacks restaurant in Afghanistan

The police chief in Kabul says at least 13 people -- foreigners and Afghans -- were killed in a restaurant bombing Friday.

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a restaurant in central Kabul that is popular with officials, foreigners and business people. At least two men were shot dead in the vicinity of the restaurant, officials said.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said the attack took place just after dark against the Lebanese restaurant Taverna in the diplomatic quarter. A single, loud explosion could be heard, followed by automatic weapon fire around the restaurant for about 20 minutes.

``More than 13 people were killed, Afghan and foreigners,'' Kabul's police chief Mohammad Zahir told Reuters. The nationalities of the foreign casualties were not immediately clear.

Deputy Interior Minister Ayoub Salangi said that the suicide bomber died in the attack and two other men were shot and killed in the vicinity of the restaurant.

Salangi added that "there were a number of people wounded, including drivers and people waiting outside and in neighboring houses."

There are a number of embassies, foreign non-governmental organization and Afghan officials living in the area. The restaurant itself was heavily fortified.

Salangi said police were engaged in a clearing operation around the restaurant late Friday night. No gunfire could be heard for at least 30 minutes after the initial burst of automatic weapon fire.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said targeted foreign officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.