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.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an outstanding opportunity for 1...
£15 per hour: Ashdown Group: IT Analyst / Helpdesk - 2 Month Contract - £15ph ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This group is the world's secon...