Attack on US consulate in Afghanistan may cast a shadow over Syria debate (+video)
Taliban insurgents in Herat explode truck bomb outside former five star hotel killing three local security force members.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for a dawn attack on a US consulate in Afghanistan Friday that killed at least three locals, and that underlines continued security woes in the country 12 years after the US intervened there.
The attack may also underline for critics the risks of striking Syria, as the US scrambles to respond to the alleged use of chemical weaponry in late August by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The event took place in Herat in the western part of Afghanistan reports Reuters, when a bomb in a truck exploded outside the gates of the US consulate and a gunbattle between security forces and gunmen ensued.
The US State Department said in a statement that a truck approached the US consulate at 5:30 a.m. local time with a group of attackers carrying rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.
They opened fire on the consulate before the truck exploded, damaging the front gate. "It appears American and contract security personnel addressed any attackers who managed to enter the compound," the statement read. "It appears some attackers were wearing suicide explosive devices."
Violent incidents in Afghanistan have been on the rise as US and allied forces begin to draw down and then formally depart in 2014. As the BBC notes: “This attack – carried out in the shadow of the anniversary of 9/11 – is a demonstration of the ability of insurgents still to disrupt Afghanistan 12 years after the US toppled the Taliban.”
A US embassy spokesperson said from Kabul that all US personnel in the area were safe. Local officials on the ground say that three Afghans have been killed, including a police officer and translator, and 17 others injured in the attack.