The U.S. Consulate in the Afghanistan city of Herat came under attack by terrorists at approximately 5:30 AM this morning (about 9PM EDT last night). Apparently the terrorists drove to the front of the consulate's gate and began attacking the security officers surrounding the perimeter. One report has them firing rocket-propelled grenades supported with rifles. Shortly after, the truck used for the terrorist assault exploded, damaging the front gate of the consulate, according to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
Non-security staff at the consulate immediately took shelter while American and contractor security personnel fought with the militants, who had breached the compound, Harf said in a statement. Some of the attackers, according to Harf, appeared to be wearing suicide bombs.
At this writing (9:20AM EDT) it is about 40 minutes before the President makes the "long trip" from his home to the oval office so we are not aware of which internet video for which he will blame this attack."Full details are not known of the extent of the attack at this point, but the attack is currently over," Harf said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which started just before sunrise with a suicide car bombing approximately 60 yards from the consulate entrance, followed by gunfire from militants attempting to enter the compound. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said later on Twitter that "all Consulate personnel are safe and accounted for."This story will be updated once the president announces the offending video.
The gun battle between militants and security forces lasted about two hours, said Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Herat province. The attackers may have managed to enter the first security ring of the diplomatic compound, but there was no damage to the consulate building, he said.
Four assailants were killed by Afghan and U.S. security forces, with one or two unaccounted for, Wahidi said. A Taliban spokesman claimed that his group killed 13 foreigners and two Afghan soldiers. The group frequently exaggerates its claims.