By Sheldon Alberts - 09/13/13 10:19 AM EDT
Insurgents carried out a brazen attack early Friday on the U.S. Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, detonating a truck bomb at the gates of the American compound before waging a gunfight with security forces.
According to a State Department spokeswoman, the attack began when a armed assailants in a truck drove to the front gate of the consulate and began firing on Afghan security forces with rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles.
Not long after, the entire truck exploded, causing extensive damage to the front gate of the consulate. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said some of the attackers were also wearing “suicide explosive vests.”
Consulate workers took shelter in safe havens, and “there are no American casualties,” said Harf.
She said “there are likely wounded Afghan police, though numbers are unknown.”
The attack came just two days after the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
It also came two years after nine people were killed in an attack on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul.
"Our aim for this attack is to show the Americans that they are not safe anywhere in this country," Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said in a statement emailed to reporters, according to Reuters.