Afghan official: Taliban attack German consulate, killing 4

Kabul: Germany’s consulate in northern Afghanistan was attacked when a suicide car bomber rammed the compound, killing four people and wounding more than 100, police and a doctor said today.

Four dead, two civilians and two unidentified bodies, were brought to the Balkh hospital and around 115 people were wounded, said Dr. Noor Mohammad Faiz.

“The blast was too loud and powerful, which shattered windows, and many civilians were wounded inside their homes,” he said.

The car exploded at the gate of the consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif city, destroying the gate and wall around 11.10 pm yesterday, said Abdul Raziq Qaderi, head of security for Balkh province.

“Police have surrounded the area and our forces are inside the compound,” he said. Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital of Balkh province and one of the most important cities in the country.

The Taliban issued a statement saying they had sent suicide attackers to the consulate.

Many houses and shops were destroyed or damaged, said Munir Ahmad Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor in Balkh. “The security situation is under control right now, but locals are in fears of last night attack, there are many women and children among those who wounded,” Farhad said.

The German Foreign Ministry said in a statement there was an “armed attack” on the consulate but didn’t specify the nature of the attack or mention any casualties.

The statement said there had been fighting outside and on the grounds of the consulate and that Afghan security forces and troops from the international Resolute Support mission were at the scene.

Germany has 983 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, most of them in Balkh, as part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

The Taliban’s insurgency has spread from their southern heartland across the country in the past two years.

The Taliban statement from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack was retaliation for recent airstrikes in the northern city of Kunduz, capital of the province of the same name.

A US airstrike earlier this month killed dozens of people, including women and children, and is under investigation.