A photo taken today outside the entrance to the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, has issued a statement condemning today's attack on U.S. Consulate Peshawar:
April 05, 2010
Islamabad - The United States condemns the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar today. At least two Pakistani security guards employed by the Consulate General were killed in the attack and a number of others were seriously wounded. The coordinated attack involved a vehicle suicide bomb and terrorists attempting to enter the building using grenades and weapons fire. This attack, and the one earlier today in Lower Dir which killed and wounded many others, reflects the terrorists' desperation as they are rejected by people throughout Pakistan.
Personnel at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar are at the forefront of U.S. support for the Government of Pakistan's security and development agenda in the FATA and NWFP. The U.S. is grateful for the support of Pakistan's security forces in Peshawar, who responded quickly to this attack in support of the U.S. Consulate.
The Taliban, and specifically Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has taken responsibility for the attack, according to local news media.
Evidently, the consulate's security measures prevented the attackers from succeeding in getting a vehicle-borne explosive device inside the consulate grounds. However, two of our local guards were killed and others were injured. As always when our security measures frustrate a terrorist attack, my reaction is to see this as something less than a victory. They lost, but we didn't really win.
As for details of the attack, take all immediate reports with a big grain of salt. That said, the best news media reporting I've seen as of noon today came from France 24:
At least six militants armed with explosives and two car bombs targeted the heavily guarded US consulate in Peshawar, a city of 2.5 million on the edge of Pakistan's lawless tribal belt, setting off multiple explosions.
The United States condemned the "terrorist" attack, saying at least two Pakistani security guards employed by the consulate were killed and a number of others seriously wounded.
"The coordinated attack involved a vehicle suicide bomb and terrorists attempting to enter the building using grenades and weapons fire," said the US embassy in Islamabad.
Police said two car bombs exploded -- at a checkpoint 50 metres (yards) from the mission and the second laden with about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives close to the consulate gate, followed by an exchange of fire.
North West Frontier Province information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters that five security officials and six militants were killed, comparing the attack to last October's assault on Pakistan's military headquarters.
"The terrorists used similar tactics and the same pattern they adopted in the GHQ assault. They had vehicles, they had rocket launchers and they had suicide attackers," he told reporters at the main hospital in Peshawar.
The security barrier near the US consulate gate was damaged, and shells from rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades were left lying in the area, which was sealed off by Pakistani police and army.
There was some video taken during the attack (see here and here), but it doesn't tell you much other than to substantiate the reported size of the explosive charges.
It was a busy day for the Pakistani Taliban. Shortly before the attack on our consulate, a suicide bomber struck a rally held by a Pashtun nationalist party, killing 41 persons. Also today, the Taliban attacked a NATO fuel truck terminal in northwest Pakistan, torching tankers used to supply fuel to NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Note: The car bombs that were intended for our consulate seem to have done significant damage to a nearby Pakistani military office building, as well as to some military residences. Photos of that damage - like the one below, which I saw on both BBC and CNN - could be misleading. Just to clarify things, that building is not / not the U.S. consulate.