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Explosion near Russian Embassy in Kabul

According to reports, two Russian embassy staff were among at least six people killed in the attack, which was later claimed by ISKP.


6 Sept 2022

On the morning of September 5, reports emerged of a powerful explosion in front of the Russian Embassy, along Darulaman road, PD6, in Kabul. Initial reports on social media suggested “the explosion happened when a Russian diplomat was reading the list of Russian visa applicants” causing a large number of casualties. The explosion near the embassy was allegedly carried out by a suicide bomber.

The BBC, citing Russian and Taliban officials, reported that two Russian embassy staff were among at least six people killed in the attack. A Taliban official said at least 10 people had been injured, while Russia's state-owned news agency RIA reported that a diplomat and an embassy security guard were among the wounded.

Later that day, the Islamic State’s affiliate group – ISKP – claimed the attack on the embassy.

Map indicating the explosion on September 5; as well as two previous explosions along Darulaman road [both claimed by ISKP]

Footage from the area near the embassy showed several emergency services arriving at the scene, as well as multiple civilian vehicles attempting to evacuate the wounded. The footage, shared by Ariana News, was geolocated 700 metres away from the Embassy of Russia.

Geolocation of footage showing emergency services arriving near the Embassy of Russia, along Darulaman road, PD6, in Kabul [34.487141, 69.136141]

One image, showing a large presence of Taliban security and smoke rising along Darulaman road, was taken approximately one kilometre from the scene of the explosion. Other footage, showing people fleeing the scene of the explosion, was geolocated near the front of the Russian Embassy.

Geolocation of footage showing smoke rising and people fleeing along Darulaman road, PD6, in Kabul [34.491448, 69.139445]

According to Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary, who claimed to have been in contact with people near the scene of the explosion, the Taliban had seized people’s phones, further adding: “Taliban soldiers have blocked the area… I saw a number of dead bodies on the ground.” Sputnik, a state-backed Russian news agency, was cited as reporting that the explosion took place among students who were receiving Russian visa forms. Al Arabiya quoted Mawlawi Sabir, the head of PD6, saying: “The suicide attacker before reaching the target, was recognized and shot by Russian Embassy [Taliban] guards...there is no information about casualties yet”. Al Arabiya further claimed two people were killed and 11 injured. AW investigators were unable to independently verify these reports at the time of writing.

Allegations of casualties among the embassy staff were later confirmed by the Russian Foreign Ministry, who released a statement claiming two members of the diplomatic mission were killed as a result of the explosion: “September 5 at 10:50 Kabul time in the surveillance zone from the entrance to the consular section of the Russian Embassy in Kabul, an unknown incident set off an explosive device, as a result of the accident of two members of the diplomatic mission, there is also a fire among Afghan citizens. The embassy is in close contact with the Afghan security service, who are investigating.”

PD6’s Darulaman road, a Hazara-majority neighbourhood in the west of Kabul, has been the scene of several ISKP attacks since the Taliban came to power in August 2021.

●On the morning of November 30, 2021, an explosion occurred on Darulaman Road, Kabul. Saeed Khosty, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior at that time, stated that a mine was planted in a vase on Darulaman Road, but that it did not cause any casualties. However, according to the group Emergency NGO, at least five casualties were taken to hospital. The attack was later claimed by ISKP via the group’s telegram channels, claiming the targeting of a Taliban-operated vehicle.

On August 15, reports emerged of an explosion along the Darulaman road in Kabul. An image showing the aftermath of the explosion was geolocated by AW investigators to the front of the Bayat Media Centre, housing Ariana TV, along Darulaman Road in PD3. The image shared on social media indicated at least one casualty as well as damage to several vehicles. According to Emergency NGO, an organisation providing medical aid in Afghanistan, they received ten patients at their surgical centre in PD3, one whom was allegedly pronounced dead on arrival. As with the previous attack, this explosion was later claimed by ISKP.

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