A suicide bombing outside the Russian Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday killed two members of the embassy staff and at least one Afghan civilian in a rare attack on a foreign diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. 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. A Russian diplomat had emerged from the building to call out the names of candidates for visas when the explosion occurred, the agency said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, per the AP. Ten people were wounded, police said.
It was the latest in a series of bombings and other attacks since the Taliban seized power a year ago, deposing a Western-backed government and capping their 20-year insurgency. Monday's bombing, however, appeared to be the first to target a foreign diplomatic mission in Kabul since the Taliban takeover. The campaign of attacks has largely targeted Taliban positions or mosques of minority groups, particularly Shiites. They have largely been blamed on the Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan, which opposes the Taliban and harbors a virulent hatred of Shiites, considering them heretics. It was not immediately clear why militants targeted the Russian Embassy in particular.
The Russian mission is one of only a couple of international missions still operating and performing consular services in Kabul—and the only European one. Most nations closed their embassies when the Taliban captured Kabul in August 2021 as the US and NATO withdrew their troops. No country has recognized the Taliban government. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the explosion "a terrorist act, absolutely unacceptable." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the embassy enhanced its security after the attack and that additional Taliban authorities, including intelligence agents, were brought in. "Let's hope that the organizers of this terrorist act and its perpetrators will be punished," Lavrov said.
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