The Afghanistan affiliate of the "Islamic State" militant group has claimed credit for an attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul. The attack comes as "IS" is being driven out of territory it held in Iraq and Syria.
A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest at the gate of the Iraqi embassy in Kabul on Monday, allowing militants to breach the compound before being killed in an hours-long gun battle with Afghan security forces.
All four attackers were killed and no Iraqi diplomats were killed or injured, the Afghan interior ministry said in a statement.
"The quick-response police forces arrived in time and evacuated the Iraqi diplomats to a safe place," a ministry statement said.
A security guard and a woman were also killed.
The Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to its propaganda agency Amaq. It said two of its members attacked the embassy and killed at least seven guards.
Kabul is regularly hit by militant attacks, mostly from the Taliban, who are resurgent across large swaths of the country nearly 16 years after the US-led intervention in Afghanistan toppled the group.
IS weak in Afghanistan
Islamic State Khorasan Province, the IS affiliate in Afghanistan, has been active in the country since 2015.
The group has sustained steady losses from Afghan security forces and US airstrikes and Special Forces operations. It also clashes with the Taliban, its much more powerful rival.
The United States estimates IS has fewer than a thousand fighters in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon confirmed this month it killed the group's leader Abu Sayedand several top figures in a July 11 strike.
But the IS attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul signals the group is still dangerous and relevant, even if its strength has been whittled down.
Monday's attack on the Iraqi Embassy comes as IS is being driven out of both Iraq and Syria, having lost more than 60 percent of the territory it once controlled nearly three years ago.
However, analysts warn that even as IS suffers setbacks and loses territory, it is likely evolve as an insurgency and international terrorist threat.
cw/se (AFP, dpa, Reuters)