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A deadly suicide attack outside the Russian embassy in Kabul had many fatalities.

A deadly suicide attack outside the Russian embassy in Kabul

Two Russian diplomats were among the twenty persons killed in an explosion outside the Russian embassy in the Afghan city of Kabul on Monday, according to local media sites cited by Russian state-affiliated media RT. The explosion apparently occurred outside the gates of the embassy, where people were waiting for visas. Even if the possibility of casualties is feared, the report has not yet been substantiated. “As a result of the incident, two diplomatic mission staffers have been murdered, and there are also Afghan civilian casualties,” the ministry stated. It did not specify who the deceased employees were or how they passed away. Khalid Zadran, a Kabul police spokesman, confirmed that the four other victims were Afghan civilians. As he neared the embassy gate in Darul Aman, southwest of Kabul, armed guards reportedly opened fire and killed the attacker.

ISIL took responsibility for the incident in a telegraph statement.

According to a source in Mirror, the attack was a suicide bombing, and the bomber is thought to have given his device after being shot by Taliban guards outside the embassy gates. The head of the local police district, Mawlawi Sabir, stated, “The suicide attacker was recognized and shot by Russian embassy (Taliban) guards before reaching the objective… There is currently no information on casualties.”

The Islamic State claimed credit late Monday night, stating that a jihadist carrying an explosive belt detonated at the entryway of the consulate. Near the embassy, an ISIL fighter “detonated his suicide vest at a meeting attended by Russian employees,” according to a statement released over Telegram channels. It was the most recent in a string of attacks, many of which have been claimed by ISIL, that have primarily targeted Taliban positions or mosques of minority populations, especially Shia Muslims.

It was the latest in a slew of bombs and other attacks since the Taliban seized control in Afghanistan a year ago, deposing a government backed by the West and ending their 20-year struggle. The bombing on Monday appears to be the first attack on a Western diplomatic mission in Kabul since the Taliban’s takeover. Most of the campaign’s targets were Taliban positions or mosques belonging to minority populations, especially Shiites. They have been mainly attributed to the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, which hates the Taliban, considers Shiites to be heretics, and has an intense hatred for them. “Since the Taliban’s control, ISIS-affiliated fighters have conducted multiple savage atrocities targeting members of the Hazara community as they go to school, work, or pray, with no real response from the Taliban authorities,” said Fereshta Abbasi, an Afghanistan researcher with Human Rights Watch. “The Taliban are obligated to safeguard at-risk neighborhoods and assist attack victims and their relatives.”

Why militants specifically attacked the Russian Embassy was not immediately apparent. The Russian embassy is one of just a few international missions currently operational and providing consular services in Kabul and is the only European post. While Moscow does not formally recognize the Taliban government, it has been negotiating with representatives about a deal to supply gasoline and other goods. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, called the explosion “a terrorist act, which is totally unacceptable.” After the attack, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the embassy increased its security and brought in extra Taliban authority, including intelligence agents. Lavrov said, “Let’s hope that the organizers and perpetrators of this terrorist crime will be punished.”

Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres issued a statement in which he “strongly” condemned the assault and offered his condolences to the victims’ families. The UN mission in Afghanistan criticized the bombing as well.

“UNAMA emphasizes the necessity for the de facto authorities to safeguard the safety and security of civilians and diplomatic missions,” it tweeted.

Afghanistan’s foreign ministry spokesman stated that Taliban troops will take decisive action to secure embassies in the nation. Abdul Qahar Balkhi said, “[The government] has a close relationship with Russia, and we will never allow such bad activities by our opponents to harm that relationship.”

Even during the twenty-year conflict between the Taliban and the government supported by the West, attacks on embassies were rare. In 2017, the Taliban detonated a large truck bomb in a region containing numerous government buildings and embassies, killing over 90 Afghans and severely destroying the German Embassy in the vicinity. In 2015, a security guard was killed by a Taliban car bomb outside the Spanish Embassy. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at the end of June that Russia is attempting to establish contacts with the Taliban and wants all ethnic groups in Afghanistan to participate in the country’s administration.

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Hussain Indo

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