The US has condemned the Taliban attack in Afghanistan's capital Kabul that left nine people dead, including an Afghan journalist, his wife and two children.
"The perpetrators of these attacks have needlessly shed the blood of both Afghans and their international partners at a time when citizens are celebrating Nowruz and preparing to vote in historic elections," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.
Nine people, including four foreigners, were killed in the attack on Thursday evening on Serena Hotel which is frequently used by UN staff and foreign diplomats.
"The barbaric nature of these events reminds us of the total disregard the insurgents have for human life and their fear of a free vote for the future of Afghanistan," she said.
Among the victims was Sardar Ahmad, a widely respected 40-year-old Afghan journalist, who was killed along his wife and two children. The family's youngest son was undergoing emergency treatment after being badly wounded in the attack.
"Our heart and our condolences go out to the family of that reporter," she said.
"We know reporters go out every day and risk their lives in countries around the world, and it's an incredible service to not only communicating what's happening in a country like Afghanistan, but the fact that they put their lives at risk is certainly commendable," she added.
"We offer our deepest condolences, again, to the families of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded."We will continue to stand with the Afghan people and the government in pursuit of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Afghanistan, where all life is respected," Psaki said.