On Monday an unknown militant targeted Russia’s embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul in a suicide attack, with the Russian Foreign Ministry subsequently confirming two diplomats were killed and multiple people wounded.
“At 10:50 am Kabul time on Sept. 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,” an official ministry statement said.
“As a result of the attack, two employees of the diplomatic mission were killed, and there are also Afghan citizens among the wounded.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the “terrorist act” – which coincidentally came on the heels of the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Kabul, and of the deadly events surrounding America’s hasty August 2021 final exit from the country.
A statement from the Afghan Taliban’s interior ministry suggested the suicide blast and casualties could have been much worse as the bomber may not have fully reached his intended target:
“It was a suicide attack, but before the bomber could reach his target, he was targeted by our forces and eliminated,” Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafy Takor told AFP.
Asked whether the target was the Russian embassy, Takor said: “Yes.” An Afghan civilian was killed and several others wounded in the attack, he said.
The attack may have also been targeting Afghan civilians applying for a Russian visa. “The blast went off at the entrance to the embassy’s consular section, where Afghans were waiting for news about their visas, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry and the state news agency RIA Novosti,” The Washington Post details.
“A Russian diplomat had emerged from the building to call out the names of candidates for visas when the explosion occurred, the agency said,” according to the report.
There is not even a day without explosion💥 in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/JTRXz63shS
— Aisha Ahmad (@AishaTaIks) September 5, 2022
While these kinds of bombings against foreign embassies and international institutions have become more rare since the Taliban takeover (given that in prior years it was often Taliban militants themselves conducting attacks against foreign targets, and many countries have also shuttered their consuls), the anti-Taliban ISIS-K group has remained active in conducting suicide bombings. And at times, rival Talban factions particularly in the south of the country and along the Pakistan border have clashed.