UN chief Ban Ki-moon suggested that the deadly attack by Taliban militants on a Kabul luxury hotel targeted the Norwegian foreign minister and said it highlighted the need for action against extremist violence.
"I am very much surprised by this terrorist attack against the foreign minister of Norway (Jonas Gahr Stoere)," the secretary general told reporters here.
He was referring to the attack which killed six people, including an American, and injured six in Kabul''s posh Serena hotel while Stoere was inside.
"I feel fortunate that he (Stoere) was not injured, but that really confirms that we must take necessary measures to address" terrorism, Ban said.
He noted that his upcoming attendance at a Madrid meeting aimed at fostering greater cross-cultural understanding "is part of that kind of campaign by the international community."
Ban was to join other personalities from around the world at the January 15-16 Alliance of Civilizations forum gathering hosted by the Spanish government.
The Alliance is a 2005 initiative by former UN chief Kofi Annan and the prime ministers of Spain and Turkey aimed at bringing together institutions and civil society to bridge prejudices and misunderstandings between peoples of different cultures and religions.
Stoere was unharmed in the attack -- which included a suicide blast -- and took shelter with other guests in the basement afterwards, hotel and Norwegian officials said.