Two U.S. employees were among 21 dead in a Taliban attack Friday on a popular Kabul restaurant, according to the Associated Press.
The American University of Afghanistan confirmed that two of its employees had been killed. Other victims included three United Nations staffers and the International Monetary Funds's top representative in Afghanistan, Wabel Abdallah, 60.
“There is no possible justification for this attack, which has killed innocent civilians, including Americans, working every day to help the Afghan people achieve a better future with higher education and economic assistance,” Carney said.
“We call again on the Taliban to put down their arms and begin peace talks, which is the surest way to end the conflict in a peaceful manner,” the White House spokesman added.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham said "the victims were united by their shared humanity and commitment to building a peaceful future for Afghanistan, according to a statement."
"The Taliban target those who have hope in, and work for, this country's success. With such criminal acts the Taliban only destroy, they cannot build. The United States remains firm in our commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan where Afghans and their partners can live and work together free from the threat of violence," he said.
In recent weeks, Pakistan has released dozens of prisoners in a bid to restart talks with the Taliban. Leaders across the region are anxious to avoid a return to civil war when U.S. troops leave the country at the end of 2014.
This story was updated at 11: 56 a.m.