At least 4 persons were killed and 119 others injured when a powerful truck bomb struck the German consulate in Afghanistan’s northern Mazar-i-Sharif city. The incident took place on late Thursday night.
The car exploded at the gate of the consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif city, destroying the gate and wall around 11.10 p.m. Thursday. Sporadic gunfire rattled the usually tranquil city after the huge explosion, that smashed windows of nearby shops and left terrified local residents fleeing for cover.
Local residents reported hearing a large blast followed by gunfire. The explosion shattered the glass of nearby buildings, causing most of the injuries, provincial spokesperson, Munir Ahmed Farhad said.
Two civilians are among the dead, and the rest two bodies were unidentified. The bodies were brought to the Balkh hospital.
Afghan special forces cordoned off the area as helicopters were seen flying over the consulate and ambulances with wailing sirens rushed to the area. Head of security for Balkh province, Abdul Raziq Qaderi said, “Police have surrounded the area and our forces are inside the compound.”
Farhad said, “The security situation is under control right now, but locals are in fears of last night attack.”
One attacker died in the explosion. At least 10 children and several women were among the injured, and all the injured are Afghans. Some of the wounded are in critical condition.
Journalist Tahir Qadiry posted a picture on Twitter of a list with the names of the wounded 119 people.
— Tahir Qadiry (@tahirqadiry) November 10, 2016
Saied Kamal, the police chief of Balkh province where the explosion took place, said there appeared to be only one attacker involved. Authorities later said they found a second attacker beneath the rubble. The German Foreign Office reported multiple attackers were “repelled” by security forces, but did not name a specific number.
The German foreign ministry said in statement that 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 called it a ‘revenge attack’ for United States air strikes in the volatile province of Kunduz earlier this month that left up to 32 civilians dead. The Taliban issued a statement saying that they had sent suicide attackers to the consulate.
German official in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif were not immediately reachable for comment. But a source said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German foreign minister, called a meeting of the ministry’s crisis task force to discuss the situation.