Taliban claims suicide assault on German consulate

A Taliban suicide assault team killed six civilians and wounded more than 100 in an attack on the German consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif last night.

A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a truck packed with explosives into the outer wall of the consulate compound and detonated, creating a breach for the armed assault team to enter the compound. The German Foreign Office confirmed that there was “fighting outside” and “on the premises of the German Consulate.”

German security personnel, Afghan security forces, and special forces from NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan battled the Taliban on the consulate grounds for at least an hour before defeating the Taliban attack. Resolute support reported “all 21 staff members of the German Consulate were safely evacuated to Camp Marmal.” However, Afghan civilians were killed and wounded as a result of the massive explosion that destroyed the outer wall of the consulate.

The Taliban claimed credit for the attack on its official website, Voice of Jihad, and said it was carried out to avenge the deaths of civilians in an airstrike in Kunduz province last week.

“[A] brave Mujahid of the martyr squad of the Islamic Emirate carried out a powerful explosion using a vehicle filled with explosives followed by direct shooting attacks and gunfire within the Consulate building that left a large number of the local security personnel and Consulate employees as well as German invaders dead and wounded,” the Taliban claimed. “It is worth mentioning that the Germans were part of the perpetrators plotting recent Kunduz bombings that inflicted casualties over 50 innocent and defenseless civilians.”

The Taliban is referring to the Nov. 3 airstrike outside of Kunduz city limits that is said to have killed at least 30 Afghan civilians. The Taliban blamed Germany for conducting the attack, but US Forces-Afghanistan said it launched airstrikes after a team of Afghan commandos advised by US special forces came under fire. The combined Afghan and US force was targeting a Taliban commander outside of the embattled city and was surrounded, according to reports from Afghanistan. Two US soldiers and three Afghan commandos were killed in the fighting.

While the Taliban’s claim that it attacked the German consulate to avenge those killed in Kunduz, another consulate in the capital of Balkh province was targeted earlier this year. That attack highlights the interlinking web of jihadist networks.

On Jan. 3, 2016, jihadists assaulted the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif and held off security forces for a day before being killed. No group has claimed credit for the attack, but one of the fighters wrote in Urdu “Afzal Guru is avenged” on the wall in his own blood before being killed, according to The Indian Express. Afzal Guru was a Jaish-e-Mohammed operative who was executed for his involvement in the Dec. 2001 assault on India’s Parliament in New Delhi. That assault was executed by Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

To complicate matters further, Asmatullah Muawiya, a Pakistani terrorist who serves as one of several al Qaeda “company” commanders as well as the leader of the Taliban in Punjab province, had threatened to avenge Guru’s execution.

Whichever group attacked the Indian consulate earlier this year would need the help of the local Taliban to carry it out.

Jaish-e-Mohammed is also suspected of executing the Jan. 2, 2016 suicide assault on Pathankot Air Force Base in Punjab province in India. Jihadists said the Pathankot attack was launched to avenge Guru.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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