All diplomats 'safe' after ISIS strikes Iraqi embassy in Kabul

Salaam Times

Afghan troops arrive at the site of a suicide bombing targeting the Iraqi embassy in Kabul July 31. [Shah Marai/AFP]

Afghan troops arrive at the site of a suicide bombing targeting the Iraqi embassy in Kabul July 31. [Shah Marai/AFP]

KABUL -- An "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Iraqi embassy in Kabul Monday (July 31), enabling at least four militants to breach the compound, Afghan officials said.

By the end of the roughly four-hour-long attack, all the attackers had been killed and the compound secured, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said, adding that all embassy staff were safe and only one policeman was wounded.

"The quick-response police forces arrived in time and evacuated the Iraqi diplomats to a safe place. No embassy staff have been harmed; only one policeman was wounded slightly," a ministry statement said, according to AFP.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad said the charge d'affaires was among those evacuated and that it was monitoring the situation with Afghan authorities.

ISIS's propaganda agency, Amaq, released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, saying two ISIS members were involved.

ISIS retaliating after losses

Since ISIS in January 2015 announced the formation of its Khorasan branch, the group has suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) and allied militaries.

In April, the US military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS tunnels in remote Nangarhar Province, killing at least 90 members, according to the Afghan government.

Days later, Abdul Hasib, the previous leader of the ISIS Khorasan branch, was killed in a targeted raid by special forces, also in Nangarhar Province.

On July 11, Abu Sayed, the most recent ISIS Khorasan leader, was killed along with a number of militants in Kunar Province.

ISIS's losses have continued to mount in recent months, played out most recently in Tora Bora.

Afghan forces expelled ISIS from Tora Bora, Nangarhar Province, in operations June 17-18, according to the Defence Ministry. The defeat foiled ISIS's plans to build its Khorasan branch headquarters there.

Pentagon officials say the group now numbers fewer than 1,000 in Afghanistan.

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