By Arif Qureshi
Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday strongly condemned the suicide attack on German Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif that led to loss of several precious lives, left scores wounded and caused massive damage to the property. “Pakistan conveys its deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this terrorist incident and prayers for early recovery of the injured. Pakistan also expresses its sympathies with the German Government on their Mission in Mazar-e-Sharif,” said a Foreign Office statement.
Pakistan also reiterated its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations and reaffirmed its commitment for continued efforts and cooperation for eliminating this menace.
Afghan Taliban struck a suicide attack on the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, killing six and more than one hundred others were wounded in a suicide attack. Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the responsibility of attack and said that the fighters had been sent “with a mission to destroy the German consulate general and kill whoever they found there,” reported by Reuter’s news agency.
Taliban spokesman said that the attack was in retaliation for NATO air strikes against a village near the northern city of Kunduz last week in which more than 30 people, many of them children, were killed.
Nato said it was investigating the air strikes in Kunduz, cited by the Taliban. Afghan troops reportedly called in air support after being surrounded by Taliban militants. Some 30 civilians, including women and children, were killed in the incident, local officials said.
All German consulate staff was “safe and uninjured,” no consular staffs were among the victims, but Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany would review its lead role in the international mission in northern Afghanistan, where violence has escalated sharply during 2016. Germany leads the Nato diplomatic mission in northern Afghanistan and has nearly 1,000 troops stationed in the country.
According to the local security officials, a suicide bomber rammed a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) into the German consulate late on Thursday night, reported Khamma press.
Gen. Hasibullah Quraishi, the commander of the public order police forces in Balkh, said the Afghan and German forces arrived in the consulate compound shortly after the suicide attack. He said the suicide bomber detonated the VBIED in front of the entrance gate of the Germany consulate.
The provincial acting governor Ata Mohammad Noor condemned the attack in strongest words and said at least 2 people were killed and over 50 others were wounded, citing the preliminary reports.
Noor further added that women and children were among those wounded in the attack. However, an official in the provincial hospital said at least 110 people wounded in the attack were taken to the hospital.
[With inputs of agencies]