6 dead, dozens wounded as Afghan Taliban strike German consulate

Mazar-I-Sharif—The death toll from a powerful Taliban truck bombing at the German consulate in Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif city rose to at least six Friday, with more than 100 others wounded in a major militant assault.
The Taliban said the bombing late Thursday, which tore a massive crater in the road and overturned cars, was a “revenge attack” for US air strikes this month in the volatile province of Kunduz that left 32 civilians dead.
The explosion, followed by sporadic gunfire, reverberated across the usually tranquil northern city, shearing off the facades of nearby buildings and blowing out windows several miles away.
“The suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into the wall of the German consulate,” local police chief Sayed Kamal Sadat told AFP.
All German staff from the consulate were unharmed, according to the foreign ministry in Berlin.
The city’s hospitals received six dead bodies, including two killed by bullets, said Dr Noor Mohammad Fayez.
At least 128 others were wounded, some of them critically and many with shrapnel injuries, he added.
Deputy police chief Abdul Razaq Qadri gave a death toll of seven, including two motorcyclists who were shot dead by German forces close to the consulate after they refused to heed their warning to stop.
A suspect had also been detained near the diplomatic mission on Friday morning, Qadri added.
“The consulate building has been heavily damaged,” the German foreign ministry said in a statement. “Our sympathies go out to the Afghan injured and their families.”
A diplomatic source in Berlin said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had convened a crisis meeting soon after the attack. “There was fighting outside and on the grounds of the consulate,” a ministry spokesman said.
“Afghan security forces and Resolute Support (NATO) forces from Camp Marmal (German base in Mazar-i-Sharif) are on the scene.”
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the “barbaric” attack, calling it a crime against humanity.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the “martyrdom attack” on the consulate had left “tens of invaders” dead.—AFP

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