KABUL — A suicide bomber struck near the Russian embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, killing two diplomatic mission staff and four others.
In the first attack targeting a foreign mission since the Taliban seized power in August last year, the suicide bomber struck near the entrance to the consular section of the embassy.
“Without a doubt, we are talking about a terrorist act, which is absolutely unacceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.
The Afghan Foreign Ministry has confirmed the deaths of two embassy staff.
Four Afghans awaiting consular services were also killed and several others injured, Kabul police said.
As with other recent attacks, heavy Taliban security quickly cordoned off the area and prevented media from filming nearby.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack on the diplomatic mission.
Violence in Afghanistan has largely subsided since the Taliban returned to power, but several bomb attacks – some targeting minority communities – have rocked the country in recent months, many claimed by Daesh.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said immediate steps had been taken to step up security at the embassy, which is located on one of Kabul’s main roads leading to the parliament building.
The attack is sure to embarrass Taliban leaders, who for months have encouraged foreign nations to reopen their missions in Kabul, insisting that security was guaranteed.
During the Taliban’s chaotic takeover of the country last year, the Russian embassy was one of the few to remain open as most nations closed and evacuated staff.
The Afghan Foreign Ministry said an investigation had been opened and authorities “will not allow enemies to sabotage relations between the two countries with such negative actions.”
Afghan security analyst Hekmatullah Hekmat said the attack showed the government’s “weakness” in intelligence gathering.
“If they can’t prevent such attacks in the heart of Kabul, then they can’t provide security in the countryside,” he told AFP.
The UN mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack.
“UNAMA stresses the need for the de facto authorities to take action to ensure the safety and security of people as well as diplomatic missions,” he tweeted.
On Friday, a suicide bomber struck one of the largest mosques in western Afghanistan, killing at least 18 people, including its influential pro-Taliban imam. The cleric, Mujib ur Rahman Ansari, who had called for the beheading of those who committed the “smallest act” against the government, was killed in this attack in the city of Herat.
The attack on Ansari came as authorities provided him with tight security, including an armored vehicle and bodyguards.
Several mosques across the country have been targeted this year, some in attacks claimed by Daesh.
At least 21 people were killed and dozens more injured on August 17 when an explosion ripped through a crowded mosque in Kabul.
Daesh mainly targeted minority communities such as Shiites, Sufis and Sikhs.
Taliban officials say Daesh has been defeated, but experts say the group is the main security challenge for the country’s current Islamist rulers.
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