Explosion at the Russian Embassy in Kabul; 2 embassy staff among the dead

Kabul, Afghanistan — An explosion occurred outside the Russian embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, killing two embassy staff and at least one civilian, a Russian news agency and a local police official said.

A higher death toll was expected, with conflicting reports stating that between eight and 10 people had been killed.

The RIA Novosti news agency said an explosion occurred when a Russian diplomat walked out to people waiting outside to call out the names of visa applicants. Citing the Moscow Foreign Ministry, the agency later reported that two embassy staff had been killed.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, said at least one civilian was killed and 10 others were injured. He said a suicide bomber tried to detonate a bomb in the crowd, but was identified by security forces who shot him. It was not immediately clear if he was capable of detonating the explosives.

Zadran said an investigation was underway and the area was blocked off by police.

According to a statement from 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 casualties among Afghan citizens.”

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blast, the latest to hit the country since the year the Taliban took power. The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has intensified its attacks on the Taliban and civilians since former insurgents took control of the country last year, when US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal.

ABC News

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