Special Representative for Afghanistan J?n Kubi? (centre) briefs a news conference in Kabul. Photo: UNAMA/Eric Kanalstein

21 March 2014 ? The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has strongly condemned last night?s deadly attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul that has reportedly left nine civilians dead and several more wounded.

Afghan women and children, as well as several foreign nationals, were among those slain in the attack on the hotel, for which the Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility.

In a statement issued to the press, UNAMA noted that Thursday?s attack took place on the eve of the annual spring festival of Nowruz, which is ?a time for celebrating values such as peace and solidarity among different communities.?

The Mission reiterated that the indiscriminate attacks on civilian locations are breaches of international humanitarian law, and extended its condolences to all those affected by the violence.

Thursday?s attack follows a deadly suicide attack that occurred on Tuesday in the northern Afghan province of Faryab, killing 15 civilians and injuring nearly 50 others.

The latest violence comes as Afghanistan prepares to hold presidential and provincial council elections on 5 April, and amid an ongoing transition process by which the Government is assuming greater responsibility for its own affairs.

Earlier this week, the Secretary-General?s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, J?n Kubi?, appealed to Afghans to not allow violence or spoilers to deter the holding of peaceful and credible polls.

?I want to make very clear that even groups such as the Taliban that reject the elections, have obligations to respect a civilian process,? he stated in his briefing to the UN Security Council in New York, adding that he was gravely disturbed by the Taliban?s recent declaration that it will seek to disrupt the process by force, unleashing a campaign of terror.

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