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Ottawa condemns Kabul attack that killed two Canadians


The Canadian government on Friday condemned a Taliban attack on a Kabul hotel which killed nine people including two of its citizens, and called for the perpetrators to be punished.

"Canada condemns this brazen and cowardly terrorist attack on the Serena Hotel, in Kabul, which has claimed the lives of many and left several people injured," Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement.

Baird offered condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed or injured.

"Many of these people dedicated their lives to helping everyday Afghans build a better country for themselves, including education, and enhancing the role of women and girls in Afghan society. For this selfless work to be met with violence, especially on the occasion of Nowruz, just further proves the depravity of the Taliban and those who support them," Baird added.

"Acts of terror must not go unpunished, and those who perpetrated and supported this violence must be held accountable."

At least nine civilians including an Agence France-Presse reporter, as well as children and foreigners were killed in the attack.

Four teenaged gunmen with pistols hidden in their socks had managed to penetrate several layers of security at the Serena hotel, a prestigious venue favored by foreign visitors to the capital, on Thursday night.

The attack happened only two days after the last Canadian troops deployed in Afghanistan returned home, bringing an end on Tuesday to Canada's longest ever military engagement.

Canada initially committed troops to Afghanistan in December 2001, and until 2011 was involved in heavy fighting against Taliban militants in the violent south of the country.

From 2011, Canadian troops took on training the Afghan military and police.

A Canadian diplomat, a journalist, two civilian contractors and 158 soldiers were killed in the conflict. More than 2,000 Canadian soldiers were also wounded.

The latest deaths bring to 163 the total number of Canadians killed in Afghanistan.