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Suicide bomber sets off fatal blast outside Russia’s Kabul embassy

Russia's Kabul Embassy (Embassy of Russia in Kabul/WikiCommons)
September 05, 2022

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Two employees of the Russian Embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, have been killed in a suicide-bomb attack.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, the latest to strike the country in the year since the Taliban seized power.

“At 10:50 a.m. 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 Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement did not provide details about the victims, but an earlier report by Russia’s state RIA Novosti agency said one diplomat and one security officer had been injured.

“There were also Afghan citizens among the wounded,” the Foreign Ministry statement added.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafy Takor said the bomber had been engaged by security forces who were guarding the embassy as he was approaching his purported target.

Khalid Zadran, spokesman for the Taliban’s security command in Kabul, told Radio Azadi that the bomber was “identified and targeted” by Taliban guards, which “caused the materials attached to his body to explode.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the incident “a terrorist act.”

Local media showed footage of ambulances rushing to the scene.

The Reuters news agency said two people were killed and 11 injured in the blast, which occurred near a long line of Afghans waiting to receive visas to Russia. Police officer Mawlawi Sabir told the news agency the attacker had also been killed.

AP cited a Kabul police spokesman as saying one Afghan civilian had been killed and 10 wounded.

Russia’s state RIA Novosti agency cited local reports as saying some 15 or 20 people had been killed or injured.

An investigation was under way, and the area had been cordoned off by police.

Russia is one of the few countries to keep its Kabul embassy open following the August 2021 takeover of the country by the Taliban. The international community — including Russia — has not recognized the de facto Taliban authorities in Afghanistan.

Taliban militants seized power in the country last year shortly after the U.S.-led international coalition withdrew from the country and the previous government quickly collapsed.