A suicide car bomber rammed the gate of the German consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif late Thursday, killing four people and injuring over 100, officials said.
“The blast was too loud and powerful, which shattered windows, and many civilians were wounded inside their homes,” Dr. Noor Mohammad Faiz said, according to the Associated Press (AP). Of the four dead, two were civilians and two bodies are yet to be identified. Faiz said the bodies have been brought to the Balkh hospital. He put the number of people wounded at 115.
According to Abdul Raziq Qaderi, head of security for Balkh province, the explosive-laden vehicle destroyed the gate and the adjoining wall in the attack that occurred around 11.10 p.m. local time (1:40 p.m. EST). “Police have surrounded the area and our forces are inside the compound,” he added.
The German Foreign Office said the fighting occurred both “outside and on the premises of the German Consulate General,” Deutsche Welle reported. Afghan and NATO troops were at the scene. According to a NATO spokesman, the consulate incurred “massive damage” and the troops were evacuating its premises. The German Foreign office has said all German consulate workers were “safe and unharmed.”
The Taliban has reportedly issued a statement claiming the attack. The terrorist outfit’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in the statement, said the attack was in retaliation to recent airstrikes in the northern city of Kunduz, which resulted in the killing of dozens of people, including women and children.
“The security situation is under control right now, but locals are in fears of last night attack, there are many women and children among those who wounded,” said Munir Ahmad Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor in Balkh, adding that a number of houses and shops were destroyed, the AP reported.
According to a local journalist, all the people injured were Afghans.
As a part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission, Germany has 938 troops stationed in Afghanistan, most of who are based in Balkh province. Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital of the province.