Several people are dead and dozens injured after a suicide bomber rammed a car into the wall of a German consulate in northern Afghanistan.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for NATO air-strikes against a village near the northern city of Kunduz last week in which more than 30 people were killed.
Witnesses reported sporadic gunfire from around the consulate in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and said the huge blast had shattered windows in a wide area around the compound.
A NATO spokesman said the explosion had caused “massive damage” to the building, where around 30 people normally worked and heavily armed gunmen had followed up the blast.
Sayed Kamal Sadat, police chief of Balkh province, said several civilians had been killed and dozens wounded by flying glass from the explosion but consular staff were unharmed.
A spokesman for the German military joint-forces command in Potsdam, Germany, said the explosion occurred at around 11.05pm local time, and that gunshots were fired.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle said the Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in retaliation for a NATO air-strike last week near the northern city of Kunduz in which civilians were killed.
A spokesman for NATO forces in the area said its troops had been sent to the scene.
The German Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.
“There are massive damages to the consulate,” a NATO spokesman said, adding that NATO troops were now on site securing the consulate and preparing to evacuate its personnel.
At least one car packed with explosives was rammed into the high outer wall surrounding the consulate, but authorities were investigating if a second car was involved, the spokesman added.
It could not be ruled out that additional explosives were in the area, the spokesman said.