BREAKING: Car Bomb Hits Near US Consulate in Afghanistan; 1 dead

Militants staged a suicide car bombing then engaged in a gunfight with security forces near the American consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat early Friday, officials said. An Afghan translator was killed, while several other people, including police, were wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which underscored the perilous security situation in Afghanistan, where U.S.-led troops are reducing their presence ahead of a full withdrawal planned for next year. The insurgent strikes are no longer concentrated in the country’s south and east, but occur with troubling frequency in the north and west, which have been the more peaceful areas in years past.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Kabul declined immediate comment.

The attack began around 6 a.m. with the powerful explosion. The car bomber detonated his explosives around 60 meters (66 yards) away from the consulate compound, said Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi, the governor of Herat province. Other militants then began firing on security forces in the area.

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