Two Canadians killed in Taliban attack on Kabul hotel

Baird condemns 'brazen and cowardly attack' on guests in upscale hotel dining room

KABUL – Two Canadians have been killed in an attack in Afghanistan’s capital that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has called “brazen and cowardly.”

Baird described the two Canadians as “development workers,” but said they didn’t work directly for the federal government.

“A tragedy for the families,” Baird told reporters Friday as he boarded a plane in Ottawa where he was about to leave with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a trip to Ukraine and a nuclear security conference in the Netherlands.

“This is an example where people who are working in Kabul trying to promote values, development are under attack and we hope obviously there will be an investigation and people will be brought to justice.”

A statement from Foreign Affairs issued Friday has few details other than to say Canadian diplomats in Kabul are working with authorities to gather additional information. A spokesman for Baird tweeted that all Canadian staff at the embassy in Kabul are safe and accounted for.

Officials say a total of four foreigners were among the nine people who died in the attack in total, including two children who were shot in the head.

The Afghan capital has been hit by several attacks, but authorities appeared stunned that the militants had managed to get through the tight security at the Serena hotel — considered one of the safest places to stay in Kabul.

The shooting rampage was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks as the Taliban and allied militants step up a campaign of violence in the weeks leading to April 5 national elections.

It’s the second time this year that Canadians have died in Kabul.

In January two Canadian accountants died in a Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan.

Martin Glazer, of Gatineau, Que., and Peter McSheffrey, of Ottawa were among 21 people killed when a suicide bomber and two gunmen attacked a popular restaurant in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The two were in Afghanistan doing an audit for the Canadian International Development Agency.

With files from The Associated Press

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