By Mohammad Yunus Yawar
KABUL (Reuters) – Two staff at the Russian embassy in Kabul were among six people killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near the entrance to the embassy, in an explosion that injured at least Another 10 people, the Russian Foreign Ministry and Afghan officials said on Monday.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State militant group on its Telegram channel.
Police said the attacker was shot dead by armed guards as he approached the gate, in one of the first such attacks since the Taliban took power last year.
“The suicide bomber before reaching the target was recognized and shot dead by the guards of the Russian Embassy (Taliban) … there is no information on the casualties yet,” he told Reuters. Mawlawi Sabir, chief of the police district where the attack took place.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that an unknown militant detonated an explosive device near the entrance to the embassy’s consular section around 10:50 a.m. Kabul time.
“As a result of the attack, two employees of the diplomatic mission were killed, and there are also casualties among Afghan citizens,” the ministry said.
The other four killed were Afghan civilians, said Khalid Zadran, a Kabul police spokesman.
Russia is one of the few countries to have maintained an embassy in Kabul after the Taliban took over the country more than a year ago. Although Moscow does not officially recognize the Taliban government, they are in talks with officials about a deal to supply gasoline and other goods.
The United Nations mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the explosion.
“In light of recent events, UNAMA stresses the need for the de facto authorities to take measures to ensure the safety and security of individuals as well as diplomatic missions,” the UN wrote on Twitter, referring to the government. Taliban.
The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Afghanistan said the Taliban forces would take serious steps to secure the embassies operating in the country.
“(The government) has a close relationship with Russia; we will never allow such negative actions of enemies to negatively impact the relationship,” spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said in a statement.
During the decades-long Taliban insurgency against the Western-backed Afghan government, bombings targeting foreign missions were commonplace in Kabul, especially in recent years embassies and hotels fortifying with barbed wire and blast walls.
These incidents have decreased significantly since the insurgent group seized power in August 2021.
However, the Taliban have faced an insurgency from the Afghan affiliate of the militant group Islamic State.
Attacks so far have targeted the Taliban and civilian targets such as mosques.
(Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield, Alasdair Pal, Shivam Patel and Gibran Peshimam; Editing by William Maclean, Hugh Lawson and Lisa Shumaker)