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Russia strongly condemns Kabul blast

RIA Novosti

12:03 09/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia strongly condemns Thursday's suicide car bombing in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

According to Afghan officials, at least 18 people died in the blast, which targeted the Indian Embassy. Over 80 people were also injured in the attack.

"Russia strongly condemns the terrorist attack and is confident that it will not hinder Afghanistan in its plans to build a strong, independent and democratic state, free from terrorism. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims," a statement posted on Friday on the ministry's website said.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters in India that the embassy's walls had been reinforced after a bombing in July 2008, and withstood the force of the blast. He said the attacker "came up to the outside wall of the embassy with a car loaded with explosives".

The blast was strong enough to be felt in the Russian Embassy compound on the other side of the city. The Indian Embassy was the site of the Afghan capital's deadliest suicide attack, which killed more than 50 people in July 2008.

The radical Islamic Taliban group claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it had targeted the embassy, which is located near the Afghan Interior Ministry building. A shopping center was also damaged in the explosion and many small shops were destroyed.

U.S. President Barack Obama is reviewing a request from his top general in Afghanistan for as many as 40,000 additional troops to fight a counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban.

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