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Suicide Blast Near Russian Embassy in Kabul


Afghan security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack near the Russian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 20, 2016.

Afghan officials say a suicide car bomb blast near the Russian Embassy in the capital Kabul has killed at least seven people.

Police say the attack targeted a minibus carrying production staff of a private Afghan television channel. Several employees of Tolo TV were among the dead.

The Taliban confirmed it was targeting staff of the Tolo television channel when it claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement sent to media organizations, including VOA, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid accused the channel of broadcasting anti-Islam , anti-Afghan and anti-Taliban material and warned other Afghan media to learn a lesson from Wednesday's attack.

There were no injuries among staff at the nearby Russian embassy, according to Russian foreign ministry officials.

NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan strongly condemned the attack.

“By specifically targeting journalists, terrorists have proven once again they have no regard for Afghanistan’s people or future,” said Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, Resolute Support deputy chief of staff for communications. “A free press is critical to Afghanistan’s future, and we owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who choose to become journalists in this critical time in Afghanistan’s history.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists said "Attacks aimed at crushing independent media organizations in Afghanistan are a direct assault on the very foundation of Afghan democracy-a free and open press."

Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan said in a statement on Wednesday that it has received reports that militants were planning to attack an unknown hotel or guesthouse frequented by the international community in the Shar-e-Now area of Kabul this month.

It said there is no further information regarding the timing, target, location, or method of any planned attacks.

The embassy warned U.S. citizens that the security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unstable.