During the two-decade war between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan, attacks on embassies and international missions were rare. However, Monday’s bombing appeared to be the first attack targeted at a foreign diplomatic mission in Kabul since the Taliban captured the embassy last year.
In the wake of the attack, the US announced that it had evacuated over 100,000 Afghans from the country since August 14. The United States has also authorized the deployment of more than 5,000 more troops to help in the evacuation process. Most evacuees are hosted in Qatar for a few days before being returned to their home countries.
US officials said the attack was carried out by “ISIS fighters”. A central command head said that the group claimed responsibility for the attacks and added that at least thirteen US troops were killed. The Pentagon confirmed that the attacks were carried out by ISIL-Khorasan Province, also known as the Islamic State in Khorasan.
The Islamic State has not been recognized as an official government in Afghanistan, and most international nations closed their embassies in Kabul when the Taliban captured it in August 2021. However, US officials strongly believe the group was behind the attack.
A Taliban spokesperson said that the attack was a ‘terrorist act’. The Taliban said that they would not tolerate the continued presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan. They also announced that they would enter the presidential palace and establish checkpoints. The Taliban also announced that they would not allow women to enter amusement parks or gyms. They also said that they would impose gender segregation orders, and that judges would be ordered to punish crimes with physical punishments.
At least one Afghan civilian was also killed and 18 US troops were injured in the explosion. Two US officials said that at least one explosion appeared to be a suicide bombing, and that the others occurred near the Baron Hotel and the Abbey Gate. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the United States is still checking the claims.
The Islamic State also claimed responsibility for a mosque bombing in Kabul that occurred on August 11. A Taliban member said that foreign forces were responsible for the attack.
The US Department of State has issued travel restrictions to individuals associated with the Taliban, as well as others involved in human rights violations, including the repression of women and girls. The US has also designated one leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as a terrorist.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Russian mission at the embassy had increased its security in the wake of the attack. The Russian mission is the only European mission at the embassy. A Russian diplomat was outside calling out the names of visa candidates when the explosion occurred. He said that he believed the attack was “a calculated and vicious act”.
US officials said that they were working to determine what caused the bombing at the embassy. They said that they believed the attack was “a complex and carefully planned attack” that was carried out by ISIL-Khorasan province. The Islamic State has been increasing its presence in eastern provinces, and has been targeting civilians with suicide attacks.