Afghanistan: Six dead in Kabul attack claimed by IS

Afghanistan: Six dead in Kabul attack claimed by ISIS

A Taliban soldier stands guard near the Russian Embassy, ​​where the explosion took place.

Two employees of the Russian embassy in Kabul and four Afghans were killed on Monday near the building in a suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State group, the first attack against a diplomatic representation since the return to power of the Taliban in August 2021 .

At 10:50 a.m. local time, in the immediate vicinity of the Russian Embassy in Kabul, an unidentified fighter set off an explosive device. Two diplomatic mission employees were killed in the attack, Russian diplomacy said in a statement.

Afghan Interior Ministry Spokesman , Abdul Nafy Takor, confirmed in a tweet the death of the two Russian embassy employees and added that four civilian compatriots had been killed and several others injured.

He had earlier told AFP that the suicide bomber was shot dead by Taliban guards at the Russian embassy before he could reach his target.

The Islamic State (IS) armed group claimed responsibility for the attack, in a statement posted on Telegram. An IS fighter detonated his explosive belt during a rally attended by Russian employees near the embassy, ​​the group said.

As in recent attacks that the Taliban have tried to play down, heavy security quickly cordoned off the area and prevented media from filming nearby.

We're talking about a terrorist attack. This is unacceptable, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly condemned.

Measures were taken immediately to tighten security around the embassy, located on one of Kabul's main roads leading to the Old Parliament, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Moscow.

The means of the Afghan intelligence and counter-intelligence services were used, Lavrov added, calling for the perpetrators of the attack to be punished as soon as possible.

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its part specified that an investigation had been opened. The authorities will not allow enemies to sabotage relations between the two countries with such negative actions, he added.

Russia is one of the few countries to have kept its embassy open after the Taliban regained power in August 2021, although it did not recognize their government.

The Monday's attack shows the government's weakness in intelligence gathering, according to Afghan security analyst Hekmatullah Hekmat, interviewed by AFP.

The government has the responsibility to ensure the security of foreign missions. If it cannot prevent such attacks in the heart of Kabul, then it cannot provide security in the countryside, he said.

The mission in Afghanistan, which condemned the attack, stressed in a tweet the need for the authorities to take measures to ensure the safety of the population and diplomatic missions.

Violence has largely subsided since the Taliban returned to power last year, but several bomb attacks – particularly targeting minority communities – have rocked the country in recent months, many of which have been claimed by the government. IS.

A huge explosion rocked one of the largest mosques in Herat, western Afghanistan on Friday, killing 18 people, including its influential imam, Mujib ur Rahman Ansari.

The imam, who called for the beheading of those who commit the slightest act against the government, is the second pro-Taliban cleric to be killed in an explosion in less than a month, after the suicide bombing of August 11 targeting Rahimullah Haqqani at his madrassa in Kabul.

Several mosques across the country have been targeted this year, some in attacks claimed by ISIS.

A series of bomb attacks hit the country especially at the end of April, during the holy month of Ramadan, and at the end of May, in which dozens of people were killed.

IS has primarily targeted minority communities such as Shias, Sufis and Sikhs, but has also targeted the Taliban.

Taliban leaders regularly assure that they have mastered security in the country. Specialists, however, consider that IS, another Sunni group, but with which they maintain a deep enmity and ideological differences, remains the main threat to their regime.

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