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

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

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
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor