A car packed with explosives was rammed into China’s Embassy in Kyrgyzstan on August 30 in what appears to be an unprecedented terrorist attack.
Authorities have reported that one person, the attacker, was killed and three embassy employees were injured.
Police said that at around 9:33 am, a Mitsubishi-Delica smashed through the embassy and that an explosion was set off inside the grounds of the mission.
Deputy Prime Minister Zhenish Razzakov told reporters that the bomber “rammed the gate, kept going for 40 or 50 meters, and then detonated the car.” According to preliminary estimates, the blast had a TNT equivalent of 100 kilograms of TNT.
Police say the attacker was the only person killed. The alleged bomber’s identity has not been established.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Elena Bayalinova wrote on her Facebook page that the two of the injured embassy workers sustained concussions and fragment wounds, but that their condition was satisfactory. Another injured embassy employee traveled to the hospital under her own steam.
Residents in the south of Bishkek reported hearing a massive blast.
"At 9.35 am today, a loud blast nearly shook me off my chair at home. I went to the window and saw a mushroom of dust over the Chinese embassy. The loudest sound I've ever encountered, it was a scary experience”, wrote Facebook user Usha Rajak, who published a picture of the aftermath of the explosion from her apartment block nearby.
Photos of the aftermath show scenes of utter destruction from the Chinese Embassy building. Debris is scattered all around the grounds of the embassy. Some nearby residents reported shards from the embassy blast landing on their property.
Kyrgyzstan regularly reports on suspected terrorist plots, often of dubious credibility, but the occurrence of an actual attack, and on diplomatic Chinese soil at that, is going to sow alarm. China cooperates closely with Central Asian nations on combatting the presumed terrorist threat emanating from radicalized Uyghur militants in their sparse western regions. If this incident is found to have a Uyghur link, security dialogue is certain to be intensified.
For all their police state tactics, Central Asian security apparatuses are poorly prepared to tackle genuine terrorist threats on their soil. Police are notoriously corrupt, the exploitation of terrorist scares for political ends makes it difficult to distinguish actual threats from imagined ones and many borders remain all too unsecured.