Taliban attacks German consulate in Afghanistan

At least four people killed and 120 wounded as suicide car bomber rams his vehicle into the consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Afghan security forces and NATO troops arrive at the site of explosion near the German consulate office in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan
Taliban said the Mazar-i-Sharif bombing was a revenge attack [Anil Usyan/Reuters]

A suicide car bomber has struck the German consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killing at least four people and wounding 120 others, according to police sources.

The bombing on Thursday was claimed by the Taliban, which called it a “revenge attack” for a US air strike in the province of Kunduz earlier this month that left up to 32 civilians dead.

US forces admitted last week that its air strikes “very likely” resulted in civilian killings in Kunduz, pledging a full investigation into the incident.

This is Taliban Country

According to Mazar-i-Sharif police: “The suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into the wall of German consulate in the city.”

“The blast was too loud and powerful, which shattered windows, and many civilians were wounded inside their homes,” Abdul Raziq Qaderi, head of security for Balkh province where Mazar-i-Sharif is located, said.

A German military spokesperson told Reuters news agency that shots were also heard outside the consulate and that NATO troops were on the site.

The number of attackers remains unclear.

Afghan police said that they found a second attacker hidden or buried under rubble on Friday morning, having spoken of only one attacker during the night.

A Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera that several fighters had entered the building and that clashes were ongoing.

The government source, however, did not confirm if fighting was still ongoing.

German presence

Germany has 938 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, most of them in Balkh, as part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

The Taliban, who seized power and ruled Afghanistan from 1996, were toppled by a US-led invasion after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

Almost 15 years later, about 13,000 troops from a US-NATO coalition remain in the country.

In the past year alone, the Taliban’s armed campaign has killed or wounded about 11,000 civilians, as well as 5,500 government troops and police officers.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies