Herat attack: Afghanistan Taliban kills two in attack on US consulate

Suicide bombers breached the outer gate of the compound, allowing militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles to fire upon the consulate buildings

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a full-scale militant assault on the US consulate in Afghanistan, in which at least two police officers were killed and some 20 civilians were injured.

The attack began at around 5.30am this morning, when a large van filled with explosives was detonated by its driver in a suicide bombing near the Herat consulate’s front gate.

The explosion breached the outer perimeter of the compound, allowing militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles to enter on foot.

They opened fire on the main consulate buildings themselves, and in the ensuing battle at least two Afghans died, one a police officer and the other thought to be a private security guard.

US armed forces were among those who then responded to the threat, and within an hour it had been thwarted and the consulate secured.

General Rahmatullah Safi, Herat province's chief of police, said that five insurgents were shot and killed, in addition to two who died in the initial suicide bombings.

Robert Hilton, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Kabul, said: “All consulate personnel are safe and accounted for.”

In the aftermath of the gunfight a number of civilians, caught in the crossfire, had to be taken to hospital. But it could have been a lot worse – with the attack taking place early on Friday, the day of rest, there were not many people around in the relatively quiet and controlled western city of Herat.

A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press shortly afterwards that his organisation was claiming responsibility for the attack.

Around the same time as the Herat incident, a suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives near government offices in the eastern province of Paktika, after security personnel opened fire at him.

At least seven members of the Afghan forces were wounded in the explosion, according to officials in the much more troubled region, which borders Pakistan and suffers from a much more active militancy.

The two attacks today were stark reminders of the difficulties faced by Afghanistan as Nato forces continue to withdraw from the country.

The nation had enjoyed a brief respite for widespread celebrations on Wednesday and Thursday after the national football team won its first ever victory in a competitive international fixture, beating India 2-0 in the South Asian Football Federation Championship.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager - Software & Services

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Exhibition Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...

Recruitment Genius: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat