Two Russian embassy staff were among six people killed today in a suicide bomb attack at the entrance to Moscow’s embassy in Kabul, the country’s Foreign Ministry and Afghan officials said on Monday.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said that the two staff killed were the embassy’s second secretary and a security guard.
The bomber approached the gates of the embassy in the south of Afghanistan’s capital, but was shot dead by armed embassy guards at around 10:50am local time.
Despite the bomber being taken down, explosives were detonated, killing at least two people and injuring 11 others, police said. This number was later reduced to six.
RIA Novosti reported a diplomat went out to speak to a crowd of people queuing for their visa applications. The four other people killed were Afghan civilians, Khalid Zadran, a Kabul police spokesman said.
In a statement, Russia’s Investigative Committee, the state body that probes major crimes, said that its chairman Alexander Bastrykin had ordered an investigation to be opened into the bombing.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, the latest to strike the country in the year since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.
The so-called Islamic State group’s local affiliate has stepped up attacks against the Taliban and civilians since the former insurgents took over the country last year as US and Nato troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal.
According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the explosion occurred ‘in the immediate vicinity of the entrance to the consular section of the Russian Embassy’ in the Afghan capital.
‘At 10:50 am Kabul time on September 5, an unidentified militant set off an explosive device in the immediate vicinity of the entrance to the consular section of the Russian embassy in Kabul,’ the ministry said in a statement.
‘As a result of the attack, two employees of the diplomatic mission were killed, and there are also Afghan citizens among the wounded.’
The Afghan interior ministry told AFP that a suicide attacker what shot dead by Taliban guards at the embassy.
‘It was a suicide attack, but before the bomber could reach his target, he was targeted by our forces and eliminated,’ Afghan interior ministry spokesman Abdul Nafy Takor told AFP news agency
Asked whether the target was the Russian embassy, Takor said: ‘Yes’.
An Afghan civilian was killed and several others were wounded in the attack, he said.
‘Without any doubt, we are talking about a terrorist act, which is absolutely unacceptable,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
The United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the blast.
‘In light of recent events, UNAMA stresses the need for the de facto authorities to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the people as well as diplomatic missions,’ the UN wrote on Twitter, in reference to the Taliban government.