Taliban militants attacked the U.S. consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, Friday, with a suicide truck bomb and gunfire, reportedly killing two people and injuring several others.
The attack began when a truck loaded with militants detonated its explosives in a powerful blast outside the consulate as other militants, apparently wearing suicide vests, opened fire with assault rifles and RPGs, sparking a battle with security forces. The attackers made it inside the compound but no Americans were hurt, the U.S. State Department said.
"There was a suicide car bomb ... then gun shots inside the consulate compound," a police official told Reuters.
Police said two Afghan security forces were killed, as were five of the attackers, the Associated Press reported. Non-security personnel in the U.S. consulate took shelter in safe-havens during the attack.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault, which began about 6 a.m. when thick smoke was seen rising over the western Afghan city. The blast extensively damaged the front gate of the consulate. Television footage showed rubble and twisted metal in a wide area near the building.
An Afghan army spokesman told the BBC that the initial blast damaged the outer perimeter of the U.S. consulate, allowing the attackers to fire at the consulate buildings.
The situation was said to be under control around an hour after the start of the attack. "All consulate personnel are safe and accounted for," Robert Hilton, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.
The attack was quickly reported on Twitter by people nearby.
The International Security Assistance Force later said the situation was under control.
The U.S. State Department released the following statement on the attack.
At approximately 5:30 am the morning of September 13 (local Afghanistan time) an attack by currently unidentified forces commenced at the front vehicle compound access control point of US Consulate Herat. A truck carrying attackers drove to the front gate, and attackers -- possibly firing Rocket Propelled Grenades and assault rifles -- commenced attacking Afghan Protective forces on the exterior of the gates and contracted security guards. Shortly after, the entire truck exploded, extensively damaging the front gate.
American Consulate non-security personnel took shelter in safe-havens. American security personnel, along with contracted security personnel, reacted to the attack. Full details are not known of the extent of the attack at this point, but the attack is currently over.
Afghan security forces responded to the exterior and took control outside the Consulate, and it appears American and contract security personnel addressed any attackers who managed to enter the compound. It appears some attackers were wearing suicide explosive devices.
There are no American casualties. At this point there may be one wounded contract security member, and there are likely wounded Afghan police, though numbers are unknown. Additional details will be forthcoming.