Four Taliban suicide bombers dressed as police and women attacked the main United Nations compound in western Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said, but there were no casualties among U.N. staff.
By Sharafuddin Sharafyar | Reuters.
The attack with rockets, machine guns and bombers hit the U.N. compound in Herat, a commercial hub and the largest city in the country’s west where Taliban and other Islamist insurgents are usually less active than in other areas.
Afghan forces and U.N. security guards at the compound repelled the insurgents. Two attackers, including a car bomber, blew themselves up at the entrance and another detonated his bomb just inside, while a fourth was shot and killed, police, government and U.N. officials said.
It was the highest profile attack on the United Nations since last year and will raise questions about security in a city that NATO officials believe could be among the first to see Afghan forces take responsibility for security from NATO troops.
“This was a complex attack with rockets, machine guns plus suicide bombers. The attack was repelled, they did not succeed,” U.N. envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura told Reuters.
“No U.N. staff were wounded,” he said.
Two Afghan police officers were reportedly wounded in the attack, he said.
At least one of the attackers was dressed in all-encompassing burqas worn by many Afghan women and others were in local Afghan police uniforms.
Despite the presence of 150,000 foreign troops, violence from Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban is at its most intense since the conflict began in 2001 when U.S.-backed Afghan troops ousted the Islamists from power.
The conflict is weighing on U.S. President Barack Obama and his NATO allies as casualties among foreign forces mount and Washington looks to start bringing back troops from July next year and steadily hand over security to Afghan forces.