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Truck bomb attack on US consulate in Afghanistan

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01:29 PM September 13th, 2013

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September 13th, 2013 01:29 PM

Smoke rises near the U.S. consulate after an attack by a car bomb and a gunfight in Herat Province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Taliban militants attacked the U.S. consulate in western Afghanistan on Friday morning, using a car bomb and guns to battle security forces just outside the compound in the city of Herat. It was not entirely clear whether any attackers managed to breach the facility. AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi

HERAT – Heavily armed gunmen in suicide vests detonated a truck bomb outside the US consulate in the Afghan city of Herat, sparking a shootout with American forces early Friday, officials said.

US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said there were no American casualties in the attack and the US embassy in Kabul confirmed on Twitter that all consulate staff were safe and accounted for.

Herat, in western Afghanistan near the Iranian border, is considered one of the least volatile cities in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are fighting a 12-year insurgency.

The front gate of the US consulate was “extensively” damaged, Harf told reporters.

Afghan officials said at least one person had been killed and 18 others wounded.

An AFP reporter at the scene said one vehicle had been completely destroyed. Four Afghan policemen were among the wounded, Herat hospital spokesman Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai said.

The US State Department said the attack started at 5:30 am when the gunmen, dressed in suicide vests, drove up to the front gate in a truck, opened fire and then detonated the truck bomb.

American and contracted security personnel reacted to the attack but the assault is over, Harf said.

“It appears American and contract security personnel addressed any attackers who managed to enter the compound,” she added, giving no further details.

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