• A suicide bomber detonated explosives near the entrance of the Russian Embassy in Kabul, police said on Monday, adding the attacker was shot dead by armed guards as he approached the gate. Pictured: The Russian embassy in Kabul’s southern 7th district
Russia’s embassy in Kabul was attacked by a suicide bomber today, police have said.
The bomber approached the gates of the embassy in Afghanistan’s capital, but was shot dead by armed Taliban guards. Despite the bomber being taken down, it was reported by some news outlets that explosives were detonated.
It was not immediately clear how many casualties there were in the attack.
‘The suicide attacker before reaching the target, was recognised and shot by Russian embassy (Taliban) guards … there is no information about casualties yet,’ Mawlawi Sabir, the head of the police district where the attack took place, told Reuters.
Russia is one of the few countries to have maintained an embassy in Kabul after the Taliban took over the country more than a year ago.
Although Moscow does not officially recognise the Taliban’s government, they have been in talks with officials over an agreement supply gasoline and other commodities.
The bombing is the latest in a series of attacks across the country, which was seized by Taliban insurgents last year who overthrew the last Western-backed government.
The Taliban say they have improved security in the country since overthrowing the US-backed government, but there have been several blasts in recent months – some of them targeting busy mosques during prayers.
On Friday, a huge bomb blast outside a mosque killed multiple civilians and a high-profile pro-Taliban cleric, who this year had called for those who commit ‘the smallest act’ against the government to be beheaded.
Images and pictures posted on Twitter showed what appeared to be blood-stained bodies scattered around the compound of Gazargah Mosque in Herat city – found in the west of the country – and local media said many casualties were feared.
Cleric Mujeeb Rahman Ansari was killed in the blast, officials said. He was among the 46 people killed in the explosion.
Ansari had previously spoken strongly in defence of the Taliban at a large gatherings of thousands of scholars and elders organised by the group.
In July, during a religious gathering in Kabul, he called for those who commit ‘the smallest act against our Islamic government’ to be beheaded. ‘This (Taliban) flag has not been raised easily, and it will not be lowered easily,’ he said.
Ansari was the second pro-Taliban cleric to be killed in a blast in less than a month, after Rahimullah Haqqani died in a suicide attack at his madrassa in Kabul on August 17. Haqqani was known for angry speeches against IS, who later claimed responsibility for his death.
Blast at Afghanistan mosque leaves dozens of civilians dead
He had also spoken in favour of girls being allowed to attend secondary school, despite the government banning them from attending classes in most provinces.
Previous mosque attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State extremist group, which has carried out a series of attacks against religious and ethnic minorities, as well as Taliban targets.
Islamic State followers are also Sunnis and consider Shiites to be infidels.
The United Nations has raised concerns about the growing number of attacks and some blasts have been claimed by a local branch of Islamic State.
Government officials claim that IS has been defeated but experts say the group is the main security challenge for the country’s Islamist rulers. (Daily Mail)