A suicide bomber struck near the Russian embassy in Kabul, killing two staff from the diplomatic mission and wounding several other people, the foreign ministry in Moscow has said.
In the first attack targeting a foreign mission since the Taliban seized power in August last year, the bomber struck on Monday near the entrance of the embassy’s consular section.
“As a result of the attack, two employees of the diplomatic mission were killed, and there are also Afghan citizens among the wounded,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
Abdul Nafi Takor, an Afghan interior ministry spokesperson, said the suicide attacker had been shot dead by Taliban guards at the embassy. An Afghan civilian was also killed and several others wounded, he said.
As with other recent attacks, heavy Taliban security quickly sealed off the area and prevented media from filming nearby. No group has so far claimed the attack on the embassy.
“Without any doubt, we are talking about a terrorist act, which is absolutely unacceptable,” the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists in Moscow.
Violence in Afghanistan has largely declined since the Taliban returned to power, but several bomb blasts – some targeting minority communities – have rocked the country in recent months, many claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
Last week, a suicide bomber struck one of western Afghanistan’s biggest mosques, killing at least 18 people, including an influential imam.
Mujib ur Rahman Ansari, a cleric who had called for those who committed even the “smallest act” against the government to be beheaded, was killed in that attack in the city of Herat.
Ansari was the second pro-Taliban cleric to be killed in a blast in less than a month, after an 11 August suicide attack targeted Rahimullah Haqqani at his madrassa in Kabul.
Several mosques across the country have been targeted this year, some in attacks claimed by IS.
At least 21 people were killed and dozens more wounded on 17 August when a blast ripped through a mosque packed with worshippers in Kabul.
IS has primarily targeted minority communities such as Shias, Sufis and Sikhs.
While IS is a Sunni Islamist group like the Taliban, the two are bitter rivals and greatly diverge on ideological grounds.
Taliban officials claim IS has been defeated but experts say the group is the main security challenge for the country’s Islamist rulers.