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A suicide bomber killed at least six people outside the Russian embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul Monday, the first attack to target a foreign diplomatic mission in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover last year, the Associated Press reported.
The explosion went off outside the embassy’s consular section, where Afghans were waiting for updates on their visa applications. The blast killed two members of the diplomatic mission and four Afghan civilians.
Police said security forces shot at the suicide bomber, although it’s unclear if the explosion happened before the attacker was shot or if gunfire detonated the explosives.
The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack, although it’s not clear why the embassy was targeted, the New York Times noted.
The Russian government swiftly condemned it as “a terrorist act.” The Investigative Committee of Russia said it would open a criminal case into the attack.
The suicide bombing is the latest in a series of attacks since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021 following the withdrawal of foreign troops. Past attacks largely focused on Taliban positions or mosques attended by minority groups, with authorities blaming the Islamic State group’s affiliate in Afghanistan.
Even throughout the two-decade battle between the Taliban and the Western-backed government, attacks on embassies were unusual.
Following the Taliban takeover, most nations, including the US and its European allies, closed their embassies in Afghanistan. Russia is one of a few diplomatic missions that still operate in the country – and the only European one.
No country recognizes the Taliban government.
Even so, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June that Moscow is trying to build relations with the group and wants to see all the ethnic groups in Afghanistan take part in running the country.