At least three killed as insurgents attack US consulate in Afghan west
HERAT, Afghanistan - Reuters
Afghanistan security forces lift a dead body of their colleague during an attack on the US consulate in Herat on September 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/AREF KARIMI
At least three people were killed when insurgents attacked the U.S. consulate in western Afghanistan's main city on Friday, detonating a powerful truck bomb outside the front gates and launching a gunbattle with security forces, officials said.
The bold attack in Herat, claimed by the Taliban, once again underscored a worrying security picture as Afghanistan prepares to take over from foreign combat troops after 12 years of war and stage crucial presidential elections next year.
the circumstances of the attack were initially unclear, a spokesman for
the U.S. embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul said all U.S. personnel
in the consulate in Herat were safe and had been accounted for.
described the incident as a "complex" attack that included a car bomb. A
U.S. State Department statement later said the attack was over.
police chief General Rahmatullah Safi said a police officer and a
translator had been killed and two Afghan staff working in the consulate
had been wounded.
Ahmadi, a spokesman for the main hospital in Herat, later said three
people, including two police and a security guard, had been killed and
Safi said Afghans and
Americans had been trapped inside the consulate while fighting raged
outside. "Taliban insurgents are in one compound fighting with Afghan
guards and Americans are in another compound safe," he said.
U.S. State Department statement said a truck carrying attackers had
driven up to the front gate of the consulate and insurgents began
attacking Afghan guards and other security contractors. It said the
truck later exploded.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack in Herat.
aim for this attack is to show the Americans that they are not safe
anywhere in this country," Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi said in a
statement emailed to reporters.
often stage so-called complex attacks involving suicide bombers and
fighters on targets such as Afghan government and security forces,
especially in the more volatile south and east, although assaults on
high-profile and well-protected U.S. targets are less common.
attack began at about 6 a.m. (0150 GMT). A Reuters witness said he saw
flames in front of the compound rising from the wreckage of the vehicle
and could hear the gunbattle as the attack unfolded.
attack came two days after Americans staged solemn commemorations for
the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States that precipitated
the war in Afghanistan.
Exactly two years ago, insurgents staged a daring attack on the main U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in the heart of Kabul, killing at least nine people in a battle lasting several hours as attackers fired from a partially constructed building.