UPDATE: One attacker was able to blow up in the U.S. Consulate premises, AAJ TV reported April 5. The front side of the U.S. Consulate has been totally destroyed. Reports of seven or eight security personnel in the Consulate are dead. The Consulate’s communication system is down.
Three explosions, two rocket attacks and subsequent gunfire have been reported in the near vicinity of the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, on April 5. The attack occurred early afternoon local time when the consulate would have been full of both American and local employees. The death toll is reported at 36 but is expected to rise.
There are no assessments yet of the damage that the consulate building has sustained, but reports indicate that the explosions led to the collapse of other, adjacent buildings. Pakistani soldiers are also reported to be engaging militants in gunfire, indicating that militants are actively engaged in an attack near the area – possibly with the intention of breaching the U.S. consulate.
Many U.S. diplomatic missions (including the one in Peshawar) have a number of built in security features, such as a perimeter wall, ample stand-off distance between the buildings and the wall, reinforced concrete structure and windows and marines stationed inside to ward off attacks. While militant activity in the tribal belt of northwest Pakistan has led to regular attacks against targets of the Pakistani state, today’s assault against the consulate is an extremely rare direct attack on a U.S. target.