By Rachel Pulaski
The Taliban has taken responsibility for a suicide car bombing at the U.S. consulate in Herat, Afghanistan at 9:30 pm EST. The explosion was followed by “heavy gunfire” between the militants and U.S. security forces. 9 people are reported injured including police and an Afghan translator is reported dead. Today is the second anniversary of the U.S.consulate attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.
ABC News reported:
U.S. Embassy spokesman in Kabul declined immediate comment.
The attack began around 6 a.m. with the powerful explosion. The car bomber detonated his explosives around 60 meters (66 yards) away from the consulate compound, said Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi, the governor of Herat province. Other militants then began firing on security forces in the area.
Gen. Rahmatullah Safi, chief of police in Herat province, said an Afghan translator who apparently worked at the consulate died, while two police and two private Afghan security guards at the U.S. post were wounded. One police officer was caught under some rubble in the area, and it was not immediately clear if he was killed.
An unclear number of civilians also were wounded, Safi said. The governor put the number at seven.
The police chief, speaking around an hour after the attack started, said the situation had been brought under control, but that security forces were searching for any militants who might have escaped.
Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility on behalf of the militant group, which has often staged combined car bomb and gun attacks in the past.
UPDATE: Wall Street Journal is reporting all consulate staff are safe:
“All consulate personnel are safe and accounted for,” he said.
A statement released by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force described the assault as a “complex attack,” military shorthand for an assault that is typically initiated with a car or truck bomb and followed by a squad of attackers armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades or suicide vests.
Update: Telegraph is reporting at least 3 dead and 17 injured