A suicide bombing outside the Russian Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday killed two of the embassy staff and at least one civilian, a local police official and a Russian state news agency said. It was unclear if the attacker detonated the explosives himself or whether they went off when security forces shot him. A higher death toll was expected, with conflicting reports saying between eight and 10 people had been killed.
The RIA Novosti news agency said explosion went off when a Russian diplomat came out to people waiting outside the embassy to call out the names of candidates for visas. Citing Moscow’s Foreign Ministry, the agency later informed that two members of the embassy staff were killed. Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said at least one civilian was killed and that 10 others were wounded.
Zadran said a suicide bomber was involved in the blast. He said the bomber was identified by security forces before he could get closer to the crowd waiting outside the embassy. According to Zadran security forces shot the assailant. It was not immediately clear if the attacker was able to set off the blast before being shot, or if the gunfire detonated the explosives. Zadran said an investigation was under way, and that the area was blocked off by police. According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the explosion occurred “in the immediate vicinity of the entrance to the consular section of the Russian Embassy” in the Afghan capital. “An unknown militant set off an explosive device,” the ministry said. “As a result of the attack, two members of the diplomatic mission were killed, and there are also victims among Afghan citizens.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, the latest to strike the country in the year after the Taliban seized power. The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has intensified attacks against the Taliban and civilians since the Talibanss took over the country.