Taliban bomb US consulate in Afghanistan
14 September, 2013
HERAT: Heavily armed gunmen in suicide vests detonated a truck bomb outside the US consulate in the Afghan city of Herat, sparking a shootout with American forces early on Friday, officials said.
US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said there were no American casualties and the US embassy in Kabul confirmed on Twitter that all consulate staff were safe.
Afghan officials said at least one person had been killed and 18 others wounded.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that there were several casualties on the Afghan and US side but the militia is known to exaggerate its claims of deaths and injuries.
The front gate of the US consulate was "extensively" damaged, Harf told reporters.
An AFP reporter at the scene said one vehicle had been completely destroyed.
Four Afghan policemen were among the wounded, Herat hospital spokesman Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai said. The US State Department said the attack started at 5:30 am when the gunmen, dressed in suicide vests, drove up to the front gate in a truck, opened fire and then detonated the truck bomb.
American and contracted security personnel reacted to the attack but the assault is over, Harf said. "It appears American and contract security personnel addressed any attackers who managed to enter the compound," she added, giving no further details. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP in a telephone call that the militia carried out the attack.
"Our mujahedeen, armed with heavy and light weapons, attacked the US consulate in Herat. There are several casualties to Afghan and US forces," he said.