KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bombing outside the Russian embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul killed two embassy staff and at least one civilian on Monday, a local police official and a local police officer said. Russian state news agency. It was unclear whether the assailant detonated the explosives himself or whether they detonated when security forces shot him dead.
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 introduced himself to people waiting outside the embassy 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.
Zadran said a suicide bomber was involved in the blast. He said the suicide bomber was identified by security forces before he could approach the crowd waiting outside the embassy. Zadran said security forces shot the attacker. It was not immediately clear if the attacker was able to trigger the blast before being shot, or if the shots detonated 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 against 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.
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